Mar 4, 2018

Do the Oscars still matter?

John Legend performs on stage at last year's Oscars. Photo: Mark Ralston / AFP via Getty Images

Ahead of tonight's 8pm ET show, read a debate in today's L.A. Times Calendar section on whether Hollywood's biggest night still matters.

Yes ... L.A. Times film critic Kenneth Turan:

  • "Having a more representative [Academy] electorate undoubtedly contributed to this year's nominations. In years past, it is hard to imagine as creature feature-based an item as 'The Shape of Water' leading all comers with 13 nominations."
  • "And equally hard to imagine having the thoroughly genre 'Get Out' and the scathing 'Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri' gradually emerging as possible upset winners."
  • Why they matter: "Having top contenders that are plugged into the zeitgeist has given the Oscars as much relevance as they have ever had in recent years."

No ... L.A. Times senior writer Jeffrey Fleishman:

  • "They are not hip or clever enough to draw in the young, and they don't honor enough blockbuster titles to entice the popcorn set. The show's political asides, ... fail to capture, even though they will jab at them, the deeper currents of our visceral #hashtag times."
  • "The decline in viewership is in part a symptom of an atomized entertainment universe that has grown from a handful of channels to Netflix, Amazon, YouTube."
  • If you only read one paragraph: "There has been a shift ... in the cult of celebrity. Selfies, Instagram and YouTube have made us our own celebrities; the real ones posing beside us at film premieres and restaurants have become extras in our videoed romans à clef. They don't seem as otherworldly as they once did. Notions of fame have been reinvented, and the audience has become the star in an endless loop of blurred lines."

Go deeper

Top Trump ally sounds 2020 election alarm over coronavirus response

Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

There is growing concern among top conservative leaders that the Trump administration isn't addressing the long-term economic impact of the coronavirus, several sources tell Axios. One top adviser said if the recovery is bungled it could cost President Trump the election.

What we're hearing: "The next 4-8 weeks is really going to decide whether Trump gets reelected," Stephen Moore, Trump's former nominee for the Federal Reserve board, told Axios. If the administration mishandles its economic recovery efforts, he said, Trump is "in big trouble."

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 1,600,427 — Total deaths: 95,506 — Total recoveries: 354,006Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 465,329 — Total deaths: 16,513 — Total recoveries: 25,410Map.
  3. Public health latest: U.S. has expelled thousands of migrants under a CDC public health orderDr. Anthony Fauci said social distancing could reduce the U.S. death toll to 60,000.
  4. Business latest: The Fed will lend up to $2.3 trillion for businesses, state and city governments — After another 6.6 million jobless claims, here's how to understand the scale of American job decimation.
  5. 2020 latest: Top conservative leaders are concerned the Trump administration isn't addressing the virus' long-term economic impact.
  6. States latest: FEMA has asked governors to decide if they want testing sites to be under state or federal control.
  7. World latest: Lockdowns have led to a decline in murders in some of the world's most violent countries — Boris Johnson is moved out of the ICU but remains in hospital with coronavirus.
  8. In Congress: Senate in stalemate over additional funding for small business relief program.
  9. 1 SNL thing: "Saturday Night Live" will return this weekend in a remotely produced episode.
  10. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredPets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  11. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Federal court temporarily blocks coronavirus order against some abortions

Gov. Greg Abbott. Photo: Tom Fox-Pool/Getty Images

A federal judge ruled Thursday that clinics in Texas can immediately offer medication abortions — a pregnancy termination method administered by pill — and can also provide the procedure to patients nearing the state's time limits for abortions.

Driving the news: The decision comes after federal appeals court ruled 2-1 on Tuesday in favor of an executive order by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott that prohibits abortions during the coronavirus outbreak.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy