Oscar politics

By Tom Quiner

I am a shameless fan of the Academy Awards.

I like movies. I like politics. And I detest the direction of the culture.

If those three statements don’t square, you are correct. Hollywood is an enemy to my brand of religion (Catholic Christianity) and politics (conservative).

And yet I love a good film.

This film advances a dangerous idea

This film advances a dangerous idea

Cinema is an exquisite art form. It combines sight and sound with good stories. Then it ties them together with creative editing to create magic.

The Academy Awards provides a snap shot into the state of politics and culture, especially the American brand of each.

This year’s crop of nominated films didn’t let us down. There were some outstanding films nominated. And there was a lot of politics swirling around some of these films, and the awards themselves, that warrant some comments, which I present in a question and answer format:

Did Argo deserve best picture of the year?

Not in my book. I really enjoyed “Argo.” Director Ben Affleck demonstrated a deft touch in telling (and embellishing) this true story. I highly recommend it. It reminds me a little of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1969 film “Topaz.” But is it in the same league with “Lincoln” or “Les Miserables?” Not even close. Even the “The Life of Pi” has a leg up over Argo.

Argo won over these two more deserving films because the plot makes Hollywood the heroes. Their vote for Argo was self-serving.

Some quarters suggest all kinds of Oscar politics were involved. I’m sure they were. It is shame that an artistic triumph like Lincoln or Les Miz didn’t take home the top prize.

Did Ben Affleck diss America in his acceptance speech by omission?

Mr. Affleck thanked the Canadians and “our friends living in Iran.” Nothing wrong with that. Some conservatives are grumbling that he didn’t thank the Americans involved with the rescue, or the CIA, in particular, for their role in the rescue of these hostages in Iran in 1979. Hollywood is not exactly big fans of the CIA.

My take? Lighten up, conservatives. If you were giving an acceptance speech in front of 10 zillion people, you’d probably forget your own name.

How’d you feel about the way the Oscars incorporated Michelle Obama into the ceremony?

Some conservatives didn’t like it. I thought it was fine.

Which nominated films ticked you off the most?

Django Unchanged and Amour.

Let’s start with Django Unchained. What’s your beef?

Gratuitous violence. The smug Hollywood elite pontificate on the need for radical gun control at the same time they churn out movie after movie that revels in grotesque violence.

Quentin Tarantino is a brilliant artist who, unfortunately, incorporates a level of blood, guts, and casual violence into his films that is deeply disturbing. Is depravity of this level good for impressionable young minds … or the mentally unstable?

Of course not. And yet Hollywood honors Tarantino’s “achievement” with an Oscar.

Hollywood makes billions at the altar of ultra violence. Until they clean up their act, I do not want to hear another Hollywood type spout off about gun control.

Fair enough. What’s the problem with Amour, which won the Oscar for best foreign film?

This film subtly seduces its audience and advances an evil idea, as Hollywood screenwriter, Barbara Nicolosi points out.

Before we get into the idea behind this film, turn the clock back to another film that came out in 1941. It was called “Ich Klage an” (“I Accuse,” in English). It was commissioned by the Nazis, and directed by Wolfgang Liebeneiner.

Ms. Nicolosi describes the film:

[it] “depicts a woman with multiple sclerosis who asks her husband, a doctor, to relieve her of her suffering permanently. He agrees to give her a lethal injection of morphine while his friend (who is also a doctor) plays tranquil music on the piano.

The husband is put on trial, where arguments are put forth that prolonging life is sometimes contrary to nature, and that death is a right as well as a duty. It culminates in the husband’s declaration that he is accusing them of cruelty for trying to prevent such death.”

Why would chief Nazi propagandist, Joseph Goebbels, champion this film? Because it greased-the-skids to advance an evil idea, that some human life is less than human, and that euthanasia is an appropriate solution. He used the art form of cinema as a tool to prepare the way for the extermination of the Jews.

Okay, so what does this have to do with Armour?

Ms. Nicolosi says the parallels between “I Accuse” and “Armour” are striking:

– Both films are about a husband and wife who have a seemingly perfect love and marriage.

– In the Nazi film, the wife’s name is Hanna.  In Amour, the wife’s name is Anne.

– In the Nazi film, the wife is a piano player.  In Amour, the wife is a music teacher.

– In both films, the wife suffers a devastating illness and begs for death to a demurring husband.

– In both films, the husband eventually gives in and kills his wife.

– In both films, the first judgment of the society is that the act is murder.  In both films, the audience is led around to the conclusion that NOT to have killed the wife would have been a greater crime.

Euthanasia is the next battlefield in the culture wars. We’ve watched the successful mainstreaming of contraception, abortion, and homosexuality over the last eighty years. A film like Amour has been embraced by a Hollywood that  enthusiastically supports the disposability of inconvenient human life through human abortion.

The old, the infirm, the broken are next. As Ms. Nicolosi concludes:

“As the Bible notes about the evils that men do, “There is nothing new under the sun.” So now, the latest “old” thing  is to kill the sick and suffering… and soon, the embarrassing.   So, the cultural Left is hugely on the bandwagon creating propaganda to convince us that killing the expensive people in our midst is an act of love and kindness and, uh, prudence.”

I have a love/hate relationship with Hollywood. They are capable of creating exquisite works of art, such as Lincoln, Les Miz, and The Life of Pi.

But be careful. They have an agenda, and they are sneaky. Their insidious brand of leftist politics can sneak its way into even the most innocuous film.



  1. justturnright on February 25, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    Agreed, Tom, and a nice post.

    Actually, this is a funny coincidence, considering I touched on this topic (somewhat tangentially) this morning, as well.
    But your last statement is the one to remember: Hollywood absolutely has an agenda, and they ARE sneaky.

    ‘Course, more and more they don’t even bother with subtleties.

    There is almost nowhere left where we are free from the invasion of politics. That cabin up in the woods, away from everything, is sounding better to me every day.

    • quinersdiner on February 25, 2013 at 1:54 pm

      Your last sentence reminds me I haven’t watched Part 2 of Atlas Shrugged yet!

  2. Bob Vance on February 25, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    Argo won because Affleck got snubbed on best director nominee.

  3. Thomas F. Gallagher on March 1, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    Did you notice, Mr. Quiner, that none–let’s say it again–none of the Oscar recipients this year thanked a live-in girlfriend or boyfriend, of either sex. All who had spouses thanked their spouses. Mark Wahlberg declared on world-wide TV that he was a Catholic. The host shamelessly made fun of actresses who’ve shamelessly bared their bosoms in movies. This Oscars program was extraordinarily conservative, from a moral point of view. Did anybody notice? Does anybody care?

    • quinersdiner on March 1, 2013 at 10:19 pm

      I hadn’t noticed that. Interesting point. Thanks for weighing in. Just curious, which movie would you have voted for for best picture?

      • Thomas F. Gallagher on March 2, 2013 at 6:16 am

        Lincoln, unhesitatingly. I’m a retired professional historian, so I can say without equivocation that it’s the finest historical film ever made, in any language. Tony Kushner’s script is brilliant, in and of itself, a genuinely brilliant piece of historical writing. Hollywood did not vote the movie best picture. Why? Because Hollywood’s moral vision of the world is so utterly, so irredeemably corrupt.

        • quinersdiner on March 2, 2013 at 6:44 am

          My vote is with yours. Thanks for your unique insight.