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Will I watch the Oscars this year, cringing each time some embarassing remark is made by an actor trying to score some points with political drive by bomb-throwing? Probably not this year, and that's too bad. This article has some novel ideas to fix that, and take the Oscars back to the point....MOVIES.

http://www.usatoday.com/usatonline/2004022...25/5954181s.htm
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Politicking detracts from Oscars

By Michael Medved

In the midst of this ferociously contested election year, many commentators expect that Sunday's Oscar ceremony will turn into a politically charged, offensively one-sided, Bush-bashing extravaganza. After all, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has nominated three of Hollywood's most incurably outspoken left-wing activists for top awards: Sean Penn (in Mystic River) for best actor, along with Tim Robbins (also for Mystic River) and Alec Baldwin (in The Cooler) both for best supporting actor.

I recently appeared on The O'Reilly Factor on Fox News and argued with Bill O'Reilly about his unshakable conviction that these nominations reflect the motion picture industry's liberal agenda rather than any objective consideration of artistic excellence. Even Richard Corliss of Time magazine predicts that Robbins will win the award in his category because Hollywood wants to hear ''a lefty bash Bush'' during an acceptance speech.

Last year, the Academy Awards featured an anti-administration tirade by documentarian Michael Moore that was so demagogic it made Howard Dean's infamous ''I Have a Scream'' speech look meditative and understated. If anything, liberal hostility to President Bush has only intensified in the past year, so the public might reasonably anticipate some expressions of that festering hatred when Hollywood celebrities command the whole world's attention on Oscar night.

These expectations, however, obscure the striking reality that this year's Oscar nominations represent the least-political choices in recent Academy history. Of the five nominees for best picture, only one contains even subtle and fleeting liberal messages: Seabiscuit. Directed by former Clinton speechwriter Gary Ross, it mixes its stirring story of an underdog 1930s racehorse with adoring documentary interludes about Franklin Roosevelt and his big-government activism.

Meanwhile, other contenders for the industry's most coveted award -- The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (the all-but-certain winner), the bittersweet comedy Lost in Translation with Bill Murray and the searing murder-and-revenge mystery Mystic River -- make no effort whatsoever to score politically correct points, even in passing. Finally, the remaining best-picture nominee, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, might, if anything, qualify as an unfashionably conservative movie, with its eloquent endorsement of military virtues, its admiring view of the tightly disciplined, hierarchical world of the Royal Navy and its robust and oft-expressed contempt for the feckless French.

Those searching for evidence of liberal bias in the Oscar nominations this year must skip the major categories and go all the way down to best documentary feature (the award Moore won last year for Bowling for Columbine) to find two nominees, The Fog of War and The Weather Underground, with unabashedly liberal and anti-Vietnam War points of view.

For all of the examples of flamboyant political posturing by prominent players in Hollywood, it has been four years since leftist movies dominated the top Academy Awards. In 1999, the wildly overrated American Beauty won best picture, best actor and other major Oscars with its bitter indictment of American suburban life and a cast of characters that included a sympathetic teenage drug dealer, a wholly admirable gay couple next door and a vicious, repressed, ultimately murderous right-wing Marine Corps colonel. That same year, Michael Caine won best supporting actor and John Irving took home the statuette for adapted screenplay for The Cider House Rules -- a coming-of-age saga so heavy-handed in its pro-abortion preachments that scriptwriter (and novelist) Irving thanked the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League in his victory speech.

In a similar vein, Penn, Robbins and Baldwin are likely to make politically tinged remarks if they stand at the podium as award winners on Oscar night (Penn and Robbins are both favored). All three men are much more than dilettante airheads pushing platitudes; they are engaged activists who devote much of their time to liberal causes and have made undeniable sacrifices for their convictions -- particularly Penn, who has made two hugely unpopular trips to Baghdad.

Surely, not even the most partisan conservative would suggest that the three actors' off-screen initiatives should prevent them from receiving recognition for their on-screen achievements. Their nominations this year for roles in strikingly apolitical films have nothing to do with political correctness; rather, they stem from artistic excellence.

To emphasize this point, the Academy publicly (if ineffectually) discourages partisan grandstanding on Oscar night because such displays reinforce the impression of the entertainment industry as a monolithic, out-of-touch bastion of effete and extreme liberalism. The best way to convey a more balanced image would be to encourage a more balanced reality, with more opportunities for conservative projects and individuals to express points of view that dissent from the trendy leftism of the entrenched Hollywood elite.

Rather than attempt to prevent award winners and presenters from making liberal cracks (an effort doomed to failure in any event), why not plan for other presenters who might communicate a more conservative outlook? James Woods comes to mind, or the popular comedian Dennis Miller, or Bruce Willis, or a former actor named Schwarzenegger or even superstar Mel Gibson -- who could use a respectful nod from his peers right now to help counteract the radioactive (and utterly unfair) charges of anti-Semitism regarding The Passion of the Christ.

With the nation now evenly and bitterly divided between strident and mutually suspicious partisans, the entertainment industry can only benefit from a new focus on avoiding -- or at the least balancing -- polarizing political messages in either major projects or personal pronouncements.
 

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Originally posted by yoblues@Feb 28 2004, 02:07 PM
BLEEP the Oscars. I am interested in whats on speed channel that night.
I can answer that. NASCAR. ;)
 

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Ol' G.W. hardly ever uses his position to get in conservative cracks at lefties :rolleyes:

Geez. Everybody has an opinion these days and we get to hear it on all of our forms of media. Big deal.
 
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