Donald Trump Loves the Oscars More Than Anybody Ever Has or Ever Will
Donald Trump loves gold. His three-story palatial penthouse overlooking Manhattan, valued at $100 million, is bedizened with 24-karat gold finishings, aping the garish stylings of Louis XIV and Saddam Hussein. It even has gold-plated toilets. And, upon moving into the White House, the former reality-TV star channeled his inner Jackie Kennedy, changing the Oval Office drapes from red to gold. He is Auric Goldfinger by way of Lex Luthor. So it makes perfect sense that the tacky, self-aggrandizing billionaire would harbor a deep, abiding love of the Oscars—Hollywood’s tackiest, most self-aggrandizing night replete with a shimmering army of 24-karat gold-plated sentinels.
On Sunday night, in lieu of scanning intelligence reports or bringing jobs back to America’s factory workers, a berobed President Trump will likely be tuning in to the 89th Academy Awards—while horizontal in a gold-framed bed, noshing on a bowl of fried mac and cheese balls resting on his stomach, and gazing longingly at his Android phone, wishing he could live-tweet the proceedings.
Trump has been live-tweeting and recapping the Oscars for years to hilariously buffoonish effect. In 2012, back when he was hooked on filming brief yelling-into-the-camera videos from his office desk, he delivered a wonderfully ridiculous recap of Tinseltown’s big night.
With his hands waving wildly in the air, Trump appeared very, very triggered by what happened to red-carpet interviewer Ryan Seacrest, who had a bucket of ashes dumped on him by Sacha Baron Cohen as a stunt.
“This third-rate character named Sacha Baron Cohen thought he was being cute and funny when he threw ashes at Ryan Seacrest. Now, I know Ryan Seacrest, he’s a great guy, and you could see he was visibly upset. It was disgraceful,” shouted Trump. “And the security guard that was standing to the right? He ought to be fired immediately. That guy had nothing. He is not capable. He allowed this guy to get away with so much. Believe me, if that ever happened to somebody with real security, Sacha Baron Cohen would not be in good shape right now. He’d be in a hospital. He would have been punched in the face so many times, he wouldn’t have known what happened.”
A bit of context: Trump was punked by Cohen on The Ali G Show back in 2003. He later claimed, via Twitter, “I never fall for scams. I am the only person who immediately walked out of my ‘Ali G’ interview.” Cohen later claimed Trump was full of it, saying “he was there for seven minutes” sitting in his chair while Ali G took the piss out of him, which was “quite a long time” for a bit.
“I only wish that Ryan took a swing at him, and I only wish the security guard that allowed it all to happen No. 1 gets fired, and No. 2: go to school, learn about being security. You don’t know, man,” Trump shared during his Oscars review. He proceeded to knock Cohen on HLN—where he also weighed in on Lindsay Lohan’s comeback attempt—and various other showbiz programs.
In addition to Cohen, Trump used his silly “from the desk of” Oscar recap to settle a score with Vanity Fair Editor in Chief Graydon Carter, who, during his Spy magazine days, was the first to mock the real-estate magnate for his tiny mitts, branding him a “short-fingered vulgarian.” Trump has never forgiven Carter for the slight, which is why he next goes full evil Stefon in the video, critiquing the Vanity Fair Oscar afterparty—an A-list event that Trump could never attend.
“A lot of people are asking me about the Academy Awards, and what’s going on around the Academy Awards,” said Trump, stretching the bounds of reality. “Well, I hear the absolute worst part of the evening was the Vanity Fair party. It was boring, people were sleeping, nobody enjoyed it, there was no good feeling, and it’s really, like, symblomatic [sic] of what happened to Vanity Fair.” (At the time, Bloomberg trolled Trump by pointing out that he had invented a new word: symblomatic.)
It is worth noting that Trump is no movie expert. He is, by most accounts, a Philistine who engages in very little reading or movie-watching. His favorite film is an assorted 45 minutes of the Jean-Claude Van Damme kickfest Bloodsport (he fast-forwards to all the fight scenes), and he once won a Worst Supporting Actor Razzie for the 1989 dud Ghosts Can’t Do It. In one cringe-worthy scene, while “flirting” with the actress Bo Derek, Trump gives a pout that will, in the words of BI, “forever haunt your dreams.”
While Trump boasts 22 film and television acting credits, he constantly rails against “liberal Hollywood elites,” even though he used to be one. And boy, does he love the Oscars. Trump upped his Oscar game in 2013, kicking off his live-tweeting of the Academy Awards with the following message:
He then fired off a series of tweets during the Oscars telecast, criticizing the ceremony for being a bore (he had a point). But he saved the bulk of his criticism for the following morning, when he phoned in to his favorite morning show, Fox & Friends ,to whine some more about the swanky evening, and even appeared to advocate for gun control while blasting Quentin Tarantino’s spaghetti western Django Unchained.
“Well, I thought they were very average. I was not impressed. Django Unchained was probably one of the most racist movies I’ve ever seen. I thought it was terrible, and a disgrace. When they talk about guns and gun control, people should watch that [if] you wanna talk about something that’s really a problem,” said an animated Trump.
If that weren’t enough, the set was “tacky,” he was “glad” to see Argo win Best Picture, and Trump had serious issues with Daniel Day-Lewis’s Oscar-winning performance as Abraham Lincoln in Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln.
“First of all, [Day-Lewis] is not from this country. He’s had an accent that I could detect—I don’t know if other people could detect it. I don’t think Lincoln had an English accent, to the best of my knowledge,” said Trump. “And I said that, you know, Lincoln never sounded like that. I thought he played the role, I thought he was very affected, and I just don’t think that Lincoln behaved like that. He talked very, very slowly. I know lots of politicians and I know lots of successful people, and they don’t talk like that. They talk with rapidity because they want to get things done.”
Yes, Trump said that Lincoln “never sounded like that” because he knows a lot of present-day “politicians” and “successful people” and they don’t sound like that. Well, Lincoln’s delivery was measured and his voice was “shrill,” according to leading Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer, who’s written 40 books on Honest Abe. So Day-Lewis actually nailed it.
The 2014 Academy Awards saw Trump really lean in to his live-tweeting fetish. By my count, Trump sent out 32 tweets during the Oscars telecast, including ones where he crudely criticized Kim Novak’s plastic surgery, took a shot at Bette Midler (“sucked!”), and wrote, “I should host the #Oscars just to shake things up—this is not good!”
In fact, for all his angry tweets and dial-ins, Trump really does seem to want to host the Academy Awards. He voiced this desire again the following year in one of his signature #TrumpVlogs taken at his desk:
The exhausting Oscars routine continued in 2015, with Trump tweeting that the “Oscars are a sad joke, very much like our President,” before calling in—once again—to Fox & Friends to complain about how “there was no glamour, no beauty to me,” the set was “ridiculous,” and the show had “a bent” against conservatives.
Trump also took issue with how filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman) took home so many of the night’s awards, including Best Director and Best Picture—because he was Mexican.
“It was a great night for Mexico, as usual, you know, this country… the whole thing is ridiculous,” said Trump on Fox & Friends. “It was a great night for Mexico. This guy [Iñárritu] kept getting up and up and up, and I said, ‘What’s he doing? He’s walking away with all the gold!’”
Perhaps that’s why Trump is so hell-bent on building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico: he wants Mexicans to stop winning so many of those precious, gold-plated Academy Awards.