Actually, to be honest I could give a rat’s ass about the Oscars. I haven’t seen the leading contenders in any category in several years (outside of LOTR) and I mostly root negatively for the film whose director, writer or star I hate the least.
It does concern me, however, because movies are an enormously effective propaganda tool.
People go to “based on a true story’ and “historical” movies and come out believing that what they saw is fact. So when you see Good Night and Good Luck, the uneducated person will know that Edward “R” Murrow was a saint and McCarthy was an evil Republican (redundant, I know) and there was not never one single comm-a-nist in the government no-way no-how and no one would have known how evil McCarthy was if the blessed St. Ed had not had the leftist righteousness to call him on his bad self. Which only part of the story of course. The false part.
So its up to bloggers to be like Murrow and speak truth to power,and pushback against Oscar propaganda and battle evil Hollywood just like Murrow battled evil CBS. So here I go, fearlessly into war, like Michael Moore against Flint Michigan.
The problem (as I see it) is that although the Oscars used to have moments of political theater, they never seemed like a calculated “screw you” to red-state America. That all changed with the way the Academy handled F9-11 and The Passion of the Christ.
By any objective standard, TPOTC was a great and significant movie. I looked back at my review of the film and was reminded how, during the screening, not one person spoke for the entire movie (although some did weep softly).
I’ve never experienced such a moving and heart-felt film,and I think millions were similarly affected. I’m sure it had something to do with the fact I was raised Catholic, but even a non-Christian can be moved by the story of how an innocent, holy man gave his life and endured horrific agony to redeem the world for its sins.
Well, looking at the Academy, maybe not.
I read that executives and critics walked out of screenings cursing. The film was reviled and hated by the Hollywood establishment. I’m not Jewish, but I was moved and stricken, personally, by the images and story of Schindler’s List. I felt The Pianist was a bit derivative of “List”, but hey it was moving too, and the pedophile Polansky’s family did die in the Holocaust, and he was in a concentration camp.
Why the cross-cultural shift is only supposed to move one way, where I’m supposed to care about an all-male love affair or the trials and tribulations of the transsexual is beyond my feeble, red-state mentality I guess.
The Passion was masterfully directed- this is material almost with which almost everyone is familiar, its been done many times, and its very difficult to cover without falling into self-parody or over-self-importance (see Scorsese’s Last Temptation of Christ, a Jesus movie Hollywood could love).
Gibson made an artful, moving picture that worked. Its an epic document and a piece of art. However, its on the wrong side of the cultural line right after a presidential election that didn’t go as the Cultural Masters of Hollywood and New York (Times and the networks) decreed, so Gibson was punished (not that they would have given Passion best picture, but maybe at least one win or a couple more nominations, perhaps).
The Academy decided to ignore The Passion, for various stated reasons: “too violent” was a popular one I read.
Well, lets examine some nominees since 2000:
2000 GLADIATOR (winner) Crouching Tiger,Hidden Dragon, Traffic
2001 The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
2002 Gangs of New York The Hours The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The Pianist
2003 THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING (winner) Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, Mystic River (so much for Tim Robbins and Sean Penn’s career’s being blacklisted or damaged by their war protests- they both won Oscars for this mediocrity)
2004 MILLION DOLLAR BABY (winner)
Ok class, anyone see any violence in those nominees? Hands? Anyone? Bueller? Anyone? Well, I guess the answer is an arrow jabbed through an Orc’s eye = good, A prophet, teacher, political pawn and (possible, for non-believers) martyr and Saviour tortured and executed for his religious beliefs and/or to redeem the World= not worthy violence, sick and sadistic and gratuitous (not cool like Pulp Fiction violence).
That’s me being facetious of course. The true answer is, Hollywood, along with the MSM and every other elitist left wing bastion pulled out all the stops to defeat George W. Bush for re-election. When they failed, they threw the biggest tantrum they knew how- they gave the finger to every Christian in the US (the vast majority of whom voted Republican) by stiffing The Passion.
Giving new meaning to “cut off your nose to spite your face” they willingly sacrificed the millions of new viewers, who, having not gone to the theater in years until The Passion, would have tuned in to the Oscars for the first time in years.
Like Linda Ronstadt, who says “when I go to a concert and find out somebody in the audience is a Republican or fundamental Christian. It can cloud my enjoyment. I’d rather not know” they decided they would play for the coasts, and that seems the blue fringe that still tunes in.
Which brings us to this year. Now, the Oscars is irrevocably mired in the culture wars. And if you ain’t fer us yer agin us, so only lefty movies need apply, and this year’s crop is bumper. They read like a laundry list of far-left causes celebre:
Capote: gay protagonist, anti-death penalty
Transamerica: transexual norming
Brokeback: gay sex and romance norming
Syriana: various oil for blood and conspiracy tropes
Good Night and Good Luck: evil anti-communists
The Constant Gardener: evil drug companies
Munich: evil anti-terrorists
North Country: evil corporations (mining in this case)
Crash: evil whiteys
Narnia, based on C.S. Lewis’ Christian allegories, was of course ignored. Did great business and is a well-made, entertaining movie that even got decent reviews, but no matter. TransAmerica was deemed more worthy.
Another lame rationale some in Hollywood used for ignoring The Passion was it was a trade off for not recognizing F9-11 (a weak analogy, for reasons too long to go into again). So what is the equal time this year?
The answer of course is that it’s nothing to do with violence, or Raging Bull, Saving Private Ryan, Taxi Driver and The Godfather would never have been so celebrated. You can only surmise that Hollywood hates anything that might associate its industry with any right wing cause, culture or popular meme.
Its dumb to speak of Hollywood as a monolith, and accuse it of moving institutionally towards political shilling for the left and the Democrats as a policy. Even the major studios don’t have the clout they once did, and the awards are dominated now by indies. However, its pretty obvious the people who get the movies made, who come up with cash, who have the power to get green lights, are making a statement when they refuse to bankroll The Passion or Narnia and put up the money for these other movies.
Add to that the fact that the people nominating and voting disproportionately support lefty movies, the more radical the better, it seems. Paradise Now, the “documentary” (Michael Moore’s lasting legacy has been to forever destroy any image of documentaries as being factual or objective) glorifying and empathizing with homicide bombers.
This entire theme reminds me of a scene in This Is Spinal Tap (the last good movie Rob Reiner ever did- well, Princess Bride was ok) where the manager Ian Faith (Tony Hendra), complaining about the fact the band can’t get the non-PC sexist cover they want for their album, says “If the company was behind the album we could shove it right down their throats!”
Well, in response to dismal ticket sales, low Oscar ratings and general public apathy toward movies these days, Hollywood’s response seems to be “We make the movies, you have no other options, so we are going to serve you a diet of leftist propaganda and if you don’t like it we’ll shove it right down their throats!”
We can only hope the worst of these Hollywood stars and directors suffer the same fate: billed beneath the puppet show on the marquee.
If I do tune into the Oscars, it will only be for the E! pre-game show fashions on the red carpet. I likes me some Ermenegildo Zegna!