Celebrate the 'right' kind of Oscars
Well, the writers strike is over, the Oscars will go on and, by golly, we conservatives just can't wait to watch Hollywood pat itself on the back for another year of anti-American, anti-military, anti-traditionalist filmmaking. And while red-carp...
Well, the writers strike is over, the Oscars will go on and, by golly, we conservatives just can't wait to watch Hollywood pat itself on the back for another year of anti-American, anti-military, anti-traditionalist filmmaking. And while red-carpet anticipation is giving me the shivers, I can't help but imagine an alternative Oscar ceremony in a different kind of Hollywood with this list of exciting best-picture nominees:
* "Oono." Hilarity ensues when a 16-year-old girl finds herself pregnant and gives the baby away to a similarly unmarried neurotic so that the infant grows up to become a drug-addicted loser and dies of an overdose at 23, whereupon the hilarity abruptly stops. What struck me about this film was that Hollywood filmmakers finally ended their attempts to sanitize and glamorize the irresponsible lifestyles that are destroying their own children before the paparazzi's very eyes. A production of Don't Hold Your Breath Films in association with Not in This Lifetime Pictures.
* "From the Jaws of Defeat." A hard-charging general races against time to win an unpopular war before self-serving politicians can engineer a surrender. This film became a front-runner after a moving Time magazine interview in which impassioned studio head Bernie Wattle declared, "Look, I'm just a fat little man in a suit making movies, but these soldiers are out there risking their lives to fight some of the worst enemies this country has ever faced. What kind of people would we be if we made films attacking our soldiers and their mission?"
* "All the Prosecutor's Men." Journalistic heroics based on a true story. Intrepid radio talk show host Sean Hannity fights for justice when the mainstream media attempt to railroad four innocent white students who'd been falsely charged with the rape of a black woman. It's the dialogue that wins the day here. Take the scene in which fanatical news weekly editor Chet Shallow (played by two-time Oscar nominee Phil Shallow) snarls, "This narrative is about race and gender. The facts don't matter." To which our square-jawed hero snaps back, "This is journalism, chucklehead. The facts are supposed to shape the narrative, not the other way around." I mean, this stuff just crackles.
* "Clayton Michaels." A chemical corporation that employs thousands of people, enhances agriculture and protects millions from disease is nearly destroyed by money-grubbing lawyers who smack it with a bogus billion-dollar lawsuit. Most interesting here was the statement by the filmmakers that they "committed to this project because we were tired of feeding our families with corporate paychecks while making movies about how evil corporations are. This more honest depiction of the benefits of capitalism seemed to restore some of our integrity."
* "The Hours and Hours and Hours." An apparently committed lesbian reveals her true yearning to become a wife and mother. She gets married, devotes herself to her husband and two kids and looks back at 80 to find she's lived a happy and fulfilling life. OK, this one was a bit slow for me, but I did enjoy the scene in which the heroine's executive sister returns from yet another business trip and declares, "I feel so empowered!" before bursting into hysterical sobs.
* "Good Night, Uncle Joe." In the 1950s, a dogged congressional investigator hunts down a screenwriter who's been propagandizing and organizing in support of a Soviet regime that has murdered millions of people. In this groundbreaking work, Hollywood finally takes responsibility for the many filmmakers who gave propaganda and financial and organizational support to one of the most repressive and homicidal governments in history. The ad line, "Ideas Matter," says it all.
Of course, we'll have to wait until Oscar night to find out who the winner is -- or until hell freezes over, whichever takes longest.
Andrew Klavan of Santa Barbara, Calif., is an author; his next novel, "Empire of Lies," is due out in July.