Bill Maher has Oscar fever, as he admitted at the top of his HBO Real Time on Friday. The malady always makes him think of his mortage. That’s because “it seems to last 30 years and I have a very low interest rate.”
There are a lot of remakes in this year’s field for Best Picture, Maher noted. That includes Nightmare Alley, which is also the Republican plan for abortion, he claimed.
Maher also touched on what may be the biggest surprise of the Oscars – that Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky might appear. “He think Putin is a bloodthirsty maniac,” Maher observed. “Wait til he sees Twitter on Oscar night..” If Zelensky doesn’t make it, the Academy Awards has a backup plan in a similar vein: Nic Cage, “Who has survived a lot of bombs.”
There’s also a rumor going around that the Q-Anon audience is suspicious that the Oscars are a false flag event. After all, “There are a bunch of paid actors.”
Later in the broadcast, Maher circled back to Hollywood and its tendency to imitate success. Pointing out how Brokeback Mountain spawned this year’s The Power of the Dog, Maher suggested a new wave of remade gay cowboys movies is on the horizon, to wit: Once Upon a Time in the West Village, Butch Cassidy & the Some Trans Kid, Django Uncircumsed, The Outlaw Jussie Smollett, 3:10 to Fire Island, Cat Fight at the O.K. Corral, How the West was Fun, and Seven Brouthers for Seven Brothers.
Before and after the Oscars funny business, Maher had a conversation with Julie Ioffe, the founding parter and Washington correspondent for the Puck news site. Ioffee was born in Russia and is considered an expert on the country.
The people in Russia may be aware of what’s going on in Ukraine, but “they are starting to be very careful on who they speak to and how they speak about it,” Ioffe said.
Putin is in an information bubble, Ioffe said, and is acting rationally based on the information he has in that insular environment. “He is turning 70, and has been thinking about his legacy,” Ioffee said. But “the circle of people around him is getting smaller and smaller and smaller. In his bubble, he’s getting very bad information.”
Ioffe said that she doesn’t have a lot of optimism on the outcome for Ukraine. “I believe (Putin) wants to press it until the very end,” Ioffe said. “He can’t be seen as losing to people he called “Little Russians.’
The panel portion of the show had John Heilemann, executive editor of The Recount and host and executive producer of Showtime’s “The Circus,” and Democratic Senator from Montana Sen. Jon Tester.
The panel discussion covered the Supreme Court nomination hearings for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. “We have the Oscars to honor the best acting, and the Supreme Court hearing to witness the worst,” Maher said, adding that the hearing was “Karen Heaven” for the way Jackson was treated.
Tester said that contrarian Sen. Joe Manchin will vote for Jackson, which lessens the chance she will be denied the nomination. Tester added that Judge Jackson “is normal. That’s something to be said for Washington, DC.”
Maher pointed out that bitter partianship started with the hearings on Robert Bork in the 1980s. Heilemann pointed out that even though those hearings were rough, “They were dissecting his constitutiaonal views,” he said. “It was substantive. Not what we see now.”
The panel also touched on inflation and the results of a poll on what Americans would do if they were invaded by Russia.
Maher’s concluding New Rules section of the show talked about the appeal of Volodymyr Zelensky, who is drawing a lot of crushes from women.
“The world still needs grown-ass men,” Maher said. “Could it be that as much as women want to create the perfect man, no amount of training will turn us into your favorite Twilight character.”
Zelensky, Maher said, “is not just listening – he’s fixing the problem.”