In case you haven't heard, a whole bunch of people for some reason are upset that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is giving the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award to Oprah Winfrey.
Among those who are upset is our favorite guy and Lord and Savior, New York Press film critic Armond White, who told the Hollywood Reporter: "Does this newly announced Academy prize prove that Oprah means the same thing to Hollywood as past Jean Hersholt Award winners Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Lew Wasserman, Charlton Heston? Is this just another way for the academy to continue to grovel for TV ratings?"
Like DUH! Of course you big dummy!
But why shouldn't Oprah get the award? She more than deserves it. Name me another celebrity who has done as much as she has? And besides, judging from the list of names White mentions, such as Taylor, Wasserman, Sinatra and Heston, all of whom led very controversial and scandalous lives, yet somehow he has no problem with any of them.
Now Tom Sherak, the president of the AMPAS, has defended their choice. He was quoted yesterday as saying that Oprah "has given away more than $500 million personally, plus more through her talk show, scholarship funds and her Angel Network, is one of the most philanthropic performers in the world. Oprah has given and given and given. She's a member of the academy, she was nominated for an Academy Award and she has produced movies. This is not about personality. This is about a person who has come from the depths, risen to the heights and given back. That's a perfect example of why this award was created"
Who's going to disagree with that?
And as going back to White's complaint that the Academy is giving the award to Oprah to boost ratings, it's funny he has nothing to say about Brett Ratner, of all people, co-producing next year's show. The same Ratner who directed the Rush Hour movies, X-Men: The Last Stand, and the upcoming Tower Heist, and produced Horrible Bosses and Nick Cannon: Mr Show Biz (HUH?). If that isn't a blatant attempt to boost ratings I don't know what is.
As Anne Thomson said about the decision to pick Ratner: "What Ratner isn’t is classy. He does not have what we would call refined taste. I worry." Which means that there's a real chance that next year's show will have video vixens presenting the awards...which would make a great reason to watch it.