UPDATED with video. Bill Maher closed a fairly by-the-book episode of HBO’s Real Time with an inspired anti-P.C. monologue linking leftist criticism of 2020 Democratic presidential candidates with attacks on this year’s Oscar Best Picture nominees for various sociopolitical reasons.
“This time, let’s not eat our own,” Maher suggested about the Democratic hopefuls, referencing the undermining of Hillary Clinton in 2016 by many Democrats. With the early field of candidates already being picked apart, he hit back and then slyly bridged to awards season. “This is a real problem in our society, looking to dump someone good because there must be someone more perfect,” he said. “And sometimes, what you end up with is, no one to host the Oscars at all.”
The Academy Awards, he declared, “are being ruined by these same kinds of ridiculous purity tests.” He rattled off a few examples, barely a week before the big contest will be settled (no, not the Iowa Caucus).
Bohemian Rhapsody to some is “flawed because it’s gay, but not gay enough. Really, that’s what they’re saying,” Maher said. “It’s insensitive to the extremely gay. What?! For years, the beef about gay characters in movies was that they were reduced to their sexuality. Now, their sexuality is pushed to the background and it’s, ‘Where’s the d–k sucking?'”
Roma, he marveled, “delivers such an authentic portrait of a Mexican housekeeper, Arnold Schwarzenegger tried to impregnate it.” And yet, Maher complained, some naysayers insist writer-director Alfonso Cuarón isn’t qualified to tell the story because he isn’t poor.
Green Book has been downgraded by some for director Peter Farrelly’s admission that he flashed members of the cast and crew on the sets of his films as a joke. “This is a movie made liberals, for liberals, bursting at the seams with liberal values — not good enough!” he mock-jeered.
Maher ended with A Star is Born having “big problems with consent. Yes, consent.” He quoted from a post about the film on Vox, which lamented the “huge power imbalance” between characters played by Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga as well as a “lack of female agency.” Incredulously wrapping up the rant, he wondered, “That is what you got out of A Star is Born? ‘Cause all I learned was, don’t wear khakis onstage when you really have to pee.”
Apart from the Oscar bit at the very end, the conversations involving all of the guests — musician John Legend, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and panelists Paul Begala, David Frum and Maya Wiley — were striking for the universal support expressed for embattled Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam. While many Democrats have urged him to resign after the blackface controversy, Wiley cited polls saying 58% of African-Americans in the state prefer that he stay in office. “If they believe that, I’m not going to tell them otherwise,” said Wiley, a civil rights activist.
Begala, a CNN commentator, Virginia resident and friend of Northam’s, cited many of the governor’s accomplishments, concluding, “People would prefer redemption to resignation.”