As we’ve established, Amber Ruffin is a gift from the gods sent to us to bring magical sunshine and side-eye. She is spectacular. But in addition to regularly being the best part of Late Night with Seth Meyers (a show, I would like to point out, that is named after a different person altogether), Ruffin has given us two of the best responses to every shitty, Oscar-baity, racism movie ever. The first was this parody, which is so balls on accurate they might actually be filming it already.
Did you catch the money line? It’s quick, and comes pretty early in, so you might have missed it. But right around the 1:10 mark (right after the absolutely correct remark on Paul Rudd and his agelessness), Amber states what is undeniably the most important sentence on the Oscars I have ever heard: “Who cares as long as it’s not Green Book?”
Now, I don’t actually want to bag on anyone’s joy at following or watching the Oscars. But I am here to illuminate the position of those of us who are only here for the highlights, and to aggressively campaign for fewer instances of rampant racism. I didn’t watch the Oscars. Partly because they’ve already peaked, but also because I just can’t keep up. I’ve seen only two of the Best Picture nominees, need to get around to watching three more of them, and will never have any interest in the remaining three. There were actors I’d root for in the Acting categories, but since I haven’t seen most of their performances, it would be based on their previous work, their public personas, and marketing (which means yes, Regina King should have won that Oscar, but I can’t say she earned it for Beale Street. I also would have given Glenn Close on Oscar for Damages, so clearly I am the perfect Academy voter).
The point is, I can imagine that people would criticize me for complaining about an event in which I am not that involved. I don’t care about the Oscars, but I’m still pissed that Green Book won. They might call this hypocrisy, and they’d be super, super wrong. The Oscars is a cultural event that affects most people (the morning news covers it, the commercials highlight wins, your favorite pop culture website writes six pieces on it when you just want to talk about The Umbrella Academy). Also, and this is going to seem obvious by the end of the sentence, world-stage instances of institutional racism are something people should complain about.
Imagine it this way: You’ve been invited to a wedding in which you have little to no personal investment. Let’s say it’s your long-term partner’s cousin’s wedding, for example (don’t worry, Gracie, I’m totally talking about my boyfriend’s other cousin who just got married). Just by being invited to this event, you have to do a certain amount of prep work. And because it’s essentially a party, you expect a certain amount of good food or fun in return. You don’t really care, but you’re not hating it. The toasts are good, the food is better than average, the groom (a man you just met because, again, super not invested in this wedding) has a group of friends from college, and they’re delightful/terrible but in an entertaining way. Everything is totally serviceable. Until they switch over to a cash bar.
What? Why? I don’t have any cash on me. I’m wearing a dress with no pockets (because patriarchy), and the boyfriend only has twenty bucks on him. So now we have to find an ATM, and take out cash to buy enough drinks to make this now terrible fucking wedding bearable because the people in charge decided to stand by their old ass, shitty traditions. Everything was going fine until it was totally ruined (again, not you, Grace. Your wedding was perfect). And none of this really mattered until it totally did. Only, instead of my petty bitching about watered down drinks I don’t want to pay for, this is another example of white people dominating the narrative of race relations despite the objections of the black people being portrayed in their movies because sometimes white people just need to show how much they can imagine other white people being sort of nice to black people. And thereby solving racism.
So, yeah, “Who cares as long as it’s not Green Book?” should be everyone’s new favorite catchphrase. We don’t really care that much about the Oscars so long as the Oscars can not do the blatant racism. It doesn’t matter until it does.
Also, Billy Porter’s tux is legit amazing.