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Roger L. Simon

Confessions of an Oscar Voter

January 6th, 2014 - 9:08 pm

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Most folks on the right can’t stand the Oscars — and with justification. The movies of recent years — not the movies of the Frank Capra era — have been a collection of banal anti-American tracts, subtle or otherwise. There are exceptions, of course, but that’s the main thing.

Meanwhile, a few of us who vote in the Oscars — including some very distinguished fellows like David Mamet and Tom Stoppard (arguably the best writer in the English speaking world) — don’t adhere to the sophomoric liberal politics. But we still have to vote in these things.

So, like all the other six thousand or so Academy members from Sean Penn to Matt Damon, we have to wade through the annual onslaught of screeners to determine who wins the vaunted Oscar. (You can condemn it all you want, but it’s probably a better known prize than anything but the Nobel and even that….)

This year there has been a certain amount of libo-babble (to coin a term). The Butler is a salient example of what one might call Oprah Pix, the bathos-laden quasi-historical tale of a White House butler featuring Jane Fonda as Nancy Reagan (’nuff said). Damon’s anti-fracking Promised Land is another piece of babble the Academy seems to be ignoring.

Indeed by and large the LQ (liberal quotient) hasn’t been as egregious as in previous years. (The fine 12 Years a Slave should not be counted as liberal propaganda because no one could dispute its overall historical accuracy.) The times, as one semi-conservative singer once said, may be a changin’. In fact, there was even a movie that celebrated American bravery in Afghanistan, Lone Survivor. (Yes, I voted for it — in nominations anyway.)

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Top Rated Comments   
Roger, it is less the movies themselves and more that I am tired of these people running around throwing award banquets for each other. There must be a dozen of these things and all of the are extraneous. They provide no value except to each other.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
What I don't like about "12 Years" and its ilk is that they are all about patting ourselves on the back. The draw of the genre is the flattering idea of our own moral superiority.

It is amusing to see high-minded folks these days sputtering about how evil slavery was just as if they were Abolitionists in a Concord parlor in 1853. Hint to these high-minded moralists: slavery has already been abolished. Time to find some other fine cause to use to set yourselves off from the unwashed rubes.

The truly alarming aspect of all this late-breaking sound and fury is that history is slowly being annihilated. No, we don't mean knowledge of the facts--although that is under assault as well, as "12 Years" clearly shows--we mean the gestalt of history, the collective sense of being placed in history and therefore being able to make sense of it and ourselves.

Slavery was simply a condition of existence until the modern age and capitalism/industrialization. As recently as the Middle Ages the average European was, in effect, a slave. In Russia, the serfs were not liberated until 1861. To rail against slavery in the preening style of "12 Years" is simply to sacrifice real history, with its complexities and textures, on the altar of moral vanity.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
12 Years a Slave may be a fine movie but such things are being compromised by a pretty obvious agenda which puts art itself under suspicion, if not into irrelevance. In reading rhetoric in one place and then another, it's pretty obvious this agenda is being driven by the farthest extension of black and gay feminism. The cant and language is nearly identical, so get ready for more "examining your privilege," "postcolonialism" and "intersectionality."

I have a name for this new self-defined postcolonial race and gender-expression literary and film genre: I call it "Cry." It's like a postmodernist Fado or blues, but with a heavy emphasis on the crying, lamenting, payback and retrofitting history into moral identities and immoral. Never mind you have to erase large swaths of history and turn 4th century York, England into a multicultural community complete with African Queens.

Never mind you have to ignore a Jaipur literary festival with programs canceled because of threats of violence while magnifying sexism at American tech conventions until they are dangerous and in need of segregated racial QUILTBAG "safer-spaces."

Trust me, there is a lot more "historic" film and TV on our horizons.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (28)
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32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
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32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sir,
While "12 Years a Slave" may be historically accurate, it's still liberal propaganda. The subject fits the liberal agenda: evil perpetrator US/white world, helpless victim black world. They could make a movie about Willie Horton's furlough weekend, but they're not.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
Would love to know how much the ascendency of the international market has affected the content of the movies. Movies like Lone Survivor send an extremely positive message about America to the young men and women of the world. Perhaps the CIA could secretly influence Hollywood to make more movies putting America in a positive light. All the anti hero dreck has not helped our image abroad.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
If you like, I can give you more of what it was like, as a lower-class white, to live in Jim Crow Alabama. I'll even try to be honest about it.

That would be very interesting, especially since my family is "diverse" (another good word ruined) and I homeschool. This will be something that I will have to teach in a few years as the kids get older.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
I don't care what you say.... I'm writing in for the Apple Dumpling Gang. Now, that's quality viewing with a good message.

33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
I haven't viewed a movie in years. I won't support Hollyweird in any way.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
incorrect posting. see reply to allanius below
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
I had the same reaction to "Wolf of Wall Street". I didn't really want to go see it, and didn't expect to like it when I saw it, but, given my low expectations, it exceeded them. It was a well-made movie.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
No doubt that a movie about an African American or their culture will win the academy award for best picture. After we now live in Obama's America we are all Africans.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
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