Roger L. Simon

The Academy Awards Come Out of the Closet

Should I resign from the Academy?

I won’t, of course, but asking Michelle Obama to help present the Best Picture Oscar at the Academy Awards this year was pretty Bush League.  And it was equally Bush League for the First Lady to accept.  And I’m not talking about any George Bushes here.  I’m talking about the real Bush Leagues.

Shame, shame on all sides.

Hollywood has enough of a reputation for being in the pocket of the Democratic Party, but now they not only are in the pocket, they’re in the wallet, the purse, the laptop, the vestibule, the fax machine, the refrigerator, the oven, the slow cooker, shoes, socks, bell, book and candle and just about everything else.

Well, let’s hope those tax benefits keep rolling in.

Or maybe they just wanted to make sure Clint Eastwood wouldn’t be a presenter.  (He wasn’t.)

In any case, it’s all out in the open now.  Hollywood conservatives can go back in their foxholes. That all-clear signal they thought they might have been hearing after the 2010 election was an illusion.

American entertainment is not the province of the whole country. It’s only the province of half the country.

Or so it would seem.

Now let me be clear.  I think politics has a great and important place in filmmaking.  It’s at the heart of some of my favorite movies, from The Lives of Others to the decidedly Marxist Potemkin.  And, despite some quibbles, Argo, this year’s winner, is a worthy political film too.

It just doesn’t have a place in the Academy Awards. It’s bad enough the event is usually riddled with obligatory two-bit pot shots at the right (like Sunday’s gratuitous comment about the “Christian right” not liking vampires that drew a ripple of confused laughter).  It’s now become a venue for outright electioneering.

Perhaps 2014’s awards could feature Nancy Pelosi, cheerleading the Democrats on in a bid to retake the House.

So here we go again. What do we do? Boycott them?  Maybe the right should start its own Conservative and Libertarian Academy Awards.  The problem is there won’t be many decent candidates.

But that’s the point. That’s why I considered not writing this article in the first place. (Obviously, I couldn’t resist.) Much more important than bitching about the Academy Awards – they’re only prizes, after all – is making movies of your own with themes that match your values.

If you don’t do that, it’s irrelevant whether Michelle Obama or Harry Reid host the Academy Awards.

Now hold on… there’s an idea.  Harry Reid hosting the Academy Awards.  Talk about vampires.