Friday, March 03, 2006

Oscars 2006: A year of message movies

Each year, the Academy Awards ceremony provides an opportunity for Hollywood to show how different than typical America it is. This year, more so than usual, the nominated films are "message" movies that promote the left-wing agenda.

Indeed, Hollywood loves anything that defies traditional norms and finds such material particularly "artistic." Instead of films that--though fictional--tell us true things about the real world and thus impact society in a positive way, the Academy prefers to glorify work that promotes falsehood (and that hardly anybody sees). This is what makes the Oscars seem so meaningless, and why the TV ratings have been relatively low in recent years.

I haven't seen any of the Best Picture nominees, of course--and I don't intend to--but my understanding of the competition is as follows: Brokeback Mountain has been the clear frontrunner for a long time (due to its attempt to normalize homosexuality, of course), garnering tremendous attention and even a little money, but Crash has been gaining momentum and could pull an upset. Brokeback--the "gay cowboy movie"--is about two adulterous men who tragically destroy their lives and the lives of those around them through their selfish indulgence of sexual desires. Yet the intention of the filmmakers is to legitimize such sinful behavior and to lament society's oppressive moral standards, which, the film seems to say, prevent the two main characters from being happy in their preferred lifestyle. The movie confuses actual "love" with lust, and undermines free will by promoting the idea that we can't help but succumb to our most animal-like tendencies. (Excellent takes on Brokeback here and here.)

But despite having the kind of story Hollywood worships, Brokeback may have "peaked" too early in the awards season to hold on to the top prize; there's a lot of politics and campaigning involved in this sort of thing, debunking any notion of fixed objectivity with regard to film quality (which many nevertheless imply to be the case, all the time).

Crash unrealistically portrays almost everyone as racist and boldly makes the point that, well, racism is wrong. And by soaking the film with lots and lots of profanity and sexual material--that is, "artistic elements"--they've ensured plenty of recognition from Hollywood.

Other Best Picture nominees include Capote (about a disturbing, selfish gay man), Good Night, and Good Luck (George Clooney's anti-McCarthy, pro-communist propaganda), and Munich (about the "cycle of violence" and the moral equivalence of terrorists and their victims). Brokeback's Ang Lee will likely win for Best Director.

More leftist propaganda films getting plenty of Oscar attention: Transamerica, The Constant Gardener, Mrs. Henderson Presents, and Syriana.

Best Actor will probably go to Philip Seymour Hoffman for his gay writer, with Heath Ledger's gay adulterer the runner-up. Other nominated characters include Terrence Howard's drug dealer/pimp and David Strathairn's communist sympathizer, but I would, of course, pick Joaquin Phoenix's brilliant portrayal of Johnny Cash.

Best Actress will, thankfully, likely go to Reese Witherspoon for her role as June Carter, but she may be upset by Felicity Huffman's man who wants to become a woman (how can Hollywood resist?). Also nominated is Judi Dench for playing a pioneer in nudity on stage.

Most disturbing about Sunday's ceremony is the prospect of Paradise Now winning for Best Foreign-Language Film. It's message is absolutely horrifying, especially for something meant to "entertain" us. (I wonder what kind of sick people are entertained by it? Academy voters, I suppose.) As Cal Thomas writes, Paradise is "well-produced propaganda for the Arab-Muslim-Palestinian side and a justification for people who blow themselves up and take innocent children, women and men with them."

As for me, I would've voted to award films like Walk the Line, Cinderella Man, King Kong, or Pride & Prejudice. Other favorites this year include Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Island, The Chronicles of Narnia, and Batman Begins.

Some might ask the question: Why does the Academy seem to consistently discriminate against big-budget blockbusters that everyone likes? Phenomenal special effects and action sequences can greatly enhance a film; they don't automatically diminish it, as it almost seems Academy voters feel is the case. But it ought to be remembered that film quality is subjective, and Academy-types and red-state Americans are vastly different "subjects." Hollywood doesn't like to award blockbusters because normal, non-elitist Americans like them, and because they usually don't blatantly and intentionally defy societal norms/promote left-wing politics (which allows those normal, non-elitist Americans to like them). For Hollywood, it's not even about plain ol' good entertainment (e.g., Star Wars), much less entertainment that also conveys important truths. It's only about advancing unpopular social causes.

Incidentally, Brokeback Mountain--with its syrupy trailer and famous lines ("I wish I could quite you..."), not to mention the actual subject matter--has spawned dozens of spoof trailers, some of which are hilarious. Go here and here. "Brokeback to the Future," "Broke Mac Mountain," and "Brokeback Hour" are all good, as well as this non-Brokeback Star Wars spoof.

To see trailers and clips of the nominees, go here.

Also see:
Ann Coulter's Oscar predictions
Chuck Colson on the Oscars
Cal Thomas on why Jews will be the big losers
Oscars & the New Hollywood Triviality
Breathing humanity into Brokeback
On-screen romances and Brokeback

Plus, more movie stuff.

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