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‘Taxi Driver’ Writer Paul Schrader Slams Oscars’ ‘Need to Be Woke’

The “Taxi Driver” alum said the Academy Awards ”must return to their origins“

Paul Schrader is back at it, and this time he’s taking aim at the Oscars.

The screenwriter of “Taxi Driver” and “Obsession,” who was nominated for the Best Original Screenplay Oscar for “First Reformed” (incredibly, his first nomination), is taking aim at what he feels is a muddled awards show and member base. “OSCARS SO NOT HOLLYWOOD. Diversifying membership, recalibrating how votes are counted, these changes have transformed the Hollywood Oscars into the International Oscars,” Schrader wrote on Facebook (via Twitter). “I rather like the provincial origins of the Oscars: Hollywood coming together to celebrate its own.”

Schrader continued, less coherently: “Barry Diller is right. If the Oscars are to save themselves they must return to their origins. The Oscars mean less each year. The reasons for this are clear: the need for revenue compounded by debt carried by the museum and lowering film revenues and the scramble to be woke.”

It’s unclear what, exactly, Schrader is so bent out of shape by. “All Quiet on the Western Front,” which is indeed an international feature, picked up four awards last night. It is the fourth foreign film to take home this many Oscar statues, after “Fanny and Alexander,” “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” and “Parasite.”

Instead, Schrader’s screed feels outwardly racist, as he was clearly miffed by the amount of wins for “Everything Everywhere All At Once,” which features a predominantly Asian cast and is directed, in part, by an Asian-American filmmaker.

What’s especially weird about Schrader’s comments is how deeply influenced he is, as a director himself, by foreign filmmakers. “Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters,” arguably his greatest accomplishment as a director, is filmed entirely in Japanese while adopting the style of Japanese filmmaking; elsewhere in his filmography you can feel the influence of directors like Michael Antonioni and Bernardo Bertolucci.

When he submitted his Sight & Sound poll for 2022 (which he also loudly rallied against), less than half of his choices were the “Hollywood” films he’s crying about today.