Win against Oppenheimer, Barbie and Killers of the Flower Moon. This is the feat accomplished on the night of Sunday to Monday at the Oscars by the satire American Fiction. This film by Cord Jefferson left the Hollywood high mass with the statuette for best adaptation, just after Justine Triet was crowned for best original screenplay.

Released on the sly in France at the end of February, exclusively on Prime Video under the title American Fiction, the feature film was nevertheless one of the major players of the awards season, winning the audience award at the Toronto Film Festival and five nominations. at the Oscars for his fierce criticism of the clichés and fantasies that the African-American community arouses within the white intelligentsia.

There is in truth no valid reason to shy away from this vapid portrait of elites caught in their own trap, wokism. African-American literature professor, Thelonious “Monk” Ellison (Jeffrey Wright, Westworld) is fed up with his students who accuse him of making them study classics that they consider racist.

To make matters worse, his own manuscripts are rejected on the grounds that they are not “authentic enough or black enough.” Out of spite, Monk then writes a novel under a false name centered on a rapper and drug dealer on the run. He slips in every possible miserabilist stereotype. Except that the text, presented as autobiographical, becomes the darling of critics and puts the police on edge, worried about this fugitive scribble, of which they have no trace. Worse, this novel called Fuck, to shock you, will even receive an award!

What to do ? Go all the way with the lie or confess everything? It’s hard to resist the headlong rush when you also have to pay large healthcare bills and navigate a myriad of family crises. Monk’s mother has just been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. His bisexual, hedonistic little brother (Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us) is freewheeling.

By adapting the novel Erasure by Percival Everett, Cord Jefferson, who cut his teeth in the writing rooms of the series The Good Place and Master of None, draws inspiration from his journalistic misadventures when, as a young reporter, his editors-in-chief did not only ordered papers on news items affecting the black community. American fiction shows the excesses of the commodification of art. And denounces the misguided expectations that weigh on the shoulders of artists of color who are ordered to conform to a certain political correctness.

For a first film, Cord Jefferson offers some nice staging discoveries to illustrate Monk’s creative process. He chats with his characters, replays their scenes. It’s a shame that this fantasy is absent from the more basic scenes of family conflict.

With this film which lampoons the hypocrisy of cultural circles and their shoddy progressivism, Cord Jefferson hopes to provoke debate and encourage the emergence of new voices, less prone to sensationalism and falsely virtuous one-upmanship. In his beautiful acceptance speech at the Oscars, he drove the point home by urging the studios to turn to new directors. Because the next Martin Scorsese, he promises, will be among them.