Opinion: Why does Trevor Noah think all movies need to be dumb treats?

Hanna Flint Column no. 8 | Soho House

The Daily Show host’s hot take on the Oscars® was lukewarm at best, says Hanna Flint

Friday 1 April 2022   By Hanna Flint

If you’re sick of hot takes about the Oscars®, then you’re in good company. I am too. But then Trevor Noah had to go and post a video about the nominated movies and I just had to respond. I feel like Michael Corleone in The Godfather Part III: just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in. (A film that earnt seven Oscar® nominations, including Best Picture, but definitely not the sort of movie that Noah would want to watch.) To be fair, Part III is the weakest in the trilogy, but it seems The Daily Show host is not impressed with the type of film that gets nominated at the prestigious awards ceremony.  
‘Whenever the Oscar® nominations come out, I always feel like that’s when it’s movie homework time for me,’ he said, looking around the room at his crew for what I can only assume is reassurance for this grievance, but the silence seems to suggest they’re not on board. You do have to wonder how bad the bits they scrapped were in favour of this tepid take that Noah thought was funny enough to put on main.  
What’s your beef, man? Why are you bemoaning an awards show that celebrates the most outstanding film-making efforts of the last year just because the ninth Fast & Furious film wasn’t nominated? I’m utterly bemused by this take. Well, apart from the bit where he suggested one of the films might be ‘Black person suffering’; the Oscars® does have a long history of recognising Black-led movies when they focus on pain and trauma.  

Hanna Flint Column no. 8 | Soho House

Noah seems to be suggesting that he is the everyman moviegoer and all they want is to watch loud movies with a lot of bangs. Sure, a lot of people do like those movies. I do. I love The Matrix and the first Transformers film. Even the latest Michael Bay joint, Ambulance, was a dumb treat. I’m a huge comic book movie fan, too, and often find myself having to defend the worth of such cinematic endeavours, but I can’t deny that these films are designed to give you as much bang for your buck without taxing too much of your brainpower to enjoy.  

Sometimes that’s exactly what you need from a film: total escapism. But to position Oscar®-winning films like CODA, which won Best Picture, or Drive My Car, which earnt Best Director for Ryusuke Hamaguchi, heck, even Dune, which won six Oscars, as utter chores for audiences to sit through undermines not just the artistic purpose of cinema, but cinemagoers too. 

Hanna Flint Column no. 8 | Soho House
Hanna Flint Column no. 8 | Soho House
Hanna Flint Column no. 8 | Soho House

You’ve clearly got your specific tastes, Trevor, and I’m increasingly getting the feeling like you voted several times via your burner account in the Twitter fan favourite movie vote. But there’s a reason why there’s always an uptick in ticket sales or streaming views for Oscar®-nominated and Oscar®-winning movies.  
Audiences want to see the top calibre of movies available, and when they’re celebrated by the industry, it reduces the perceived risk of seeing something that might not be worth the investment. Paying to see a film is expensive these days and the threshold to get audiences to part with their money is a lot higher than it used to be. But that doesn’t mean people don’t want to be challenged by what they see on the silver screen or pushed out of their comfort zone. They want to be introduced to brand new worlds, experiences and stories, because cinema is one of the most influential mediums for telling us about the rock we live on. They want this sort of cultural nutrition, and if that makes Oscar®-nominated films the ‘vegetables of movies’, well, there’s good reason to have five a day. Eat up. 

Hanna Flint Column no. 8 | Soho House

Ezra Miller is in the deep end 

Fresh from their cheer-worthy moment win for ‘The Flash enters the Speed Force in Justice League’ at the Oscars®, Ezra Miller has managed to get themselves banged up in Hawaii. The actor missed the premiere for the latest Fantastic Beasts movie because of his arrest for disorderly conduct and harassment concerning an incident at a karaoke bar, and later in the house of a local couple. 
Apparently, they took umbrage with people singing ‘Shallow’, the duet ballad by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper from A Star Is Born, and tried to wrestle the mic out of the punter’s hand. It might have been funny had local police not reported that they’d been contacted 10 times about alleged incidents committed by Miller over the last three and a half weeks. Who hurt you, Ezra? Why are you being such an entitled idiot? Is it because you’ve had so many yes people around you that you’ve become emboldened to act how you want, whenever you want, with no concern for the unwitting people around you?  
I’m not saying they should be fired from their big franchise films, but you have to wonder what it will take for execs to wash their hands of Miller and I feel for the people who might fall victim to his next stunt.  

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