The Academy Awards have never been stalwart protectors of fine art, but it seems to have degraded and become more shameless over time, particularly with its penchant for rewarding films that have little to no artistic merit or message other than being “a love letter to movies.” As if the inundation of montages for the sake of montages weren’t bad enough, we now have awards given to films that say only “movies were great and still are.” The Academy has become an old man, his left hand pressed against the looking glass while furiously masturbating with his right hand, squinting so that he can remember what he used to look like. In short, nearly obscene and absurdly pathetic.

The worst, though, was Billy Crystal rolling out his blackface Sammy Davis, Jr. routine that I’m still trying to figure out how he got away with in the eighties (I figure it might have something to do with the fact that the rest of the all-white Rat Pack would beat up on Sammy with racist jabs while others disowned his blackness because of his Jewish conversion). But in 2012, it’s every bit as inexcusably ignorant and stupid under the guise of false context as the second appearance of the racist African jungle men in this year’s Best Picture winner “The Artist.”

Comedian Paul Scheer put it best when Octavia Spencer won the Best Supporting Actress award for “The Help,” tweeting “Octavia Spencer’s win shows just how far we’ve come since Billy Crystal performed in Blackface.”

Yes, this year’s Oscars telecast did harken back to yesteryear. For all the wrong reasons.

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