James McPherson's Media & Politics Blog

Observations of a patriotic progressive historian, media critic & former journalist

  • By the author of The Conservative Resurgence and the Press: The Media’s Role in the Rise of the Right and of Journalism at the End of the American Century, 1965-Present. A former journalist with a Ph.D. in journalism, history and political science, McPherson is a past president of the American Journalism Historians Association and a board member for the Northwest Alliance for Responsible Media.

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That’s Hollywood: A game show contestant, a homosexual politician, and a Nazi pedophile

Posted by James McPherson on February 22, 2009

I doubt that many people were surprised by tonight’s Academy Award winners, in which “Slumdog Millionairecleaned up. Sean Penn won best actor for playing a gay politician in “Milk”–a character that some conservatives might have disliked as much as they dislike Penn himself–and Kate Winslet won for her portrayal of a former Nazi prison guard who has an affair with a teenager.

I saw “Slumdog” and thought it was a good film, though the ending bugged both my wife and me (and I’m not referring to the dancing). I won’t spoil the finish, but for those of you who have seen it: Considering the importance of a cell phone (and earlier, of the main character’s job in a phone center), and with how widely recognized the main character is before he goes on TV for the final time, and thinking about where the bad guys nabbed the heroine when she tried to escape, does the ending really make sense?

I haven’t yet seen “Milk” or “The Reader.” Every time I see Meryl Streep in a film I think the Academy should just mail her another Oscar, but Winslet is also a very good actor. I was pleased to see “WALL-E,” my favorite film of the few nominees I had seen, win for best animated feature. I thought Heath Ledger and “The Dark Knight” both were overrated, but I expected him to win as best supporting actor.

3 Responses to “That’s Hollywood: A game show contestant, a homosexual politician, and a Nazi pedophile”

  1. Judith said

    Considering that Obama just dished out $250 million stimulus money for Hollywood to make movies, any movie nominated for Best Picture should be REQUIRED to have been filmed in the United States, hiring American actors. This Slumdog movie was nothing but a piece of fluff, meaningful only in that it represents the psyche of America’s love affair with “reality” TV, i.e., American Idol and Who Wants to be a Millionaire. After all, isn’t that basis upon which the current president was elected? It certainly didn’t entail political brilliance or statesmanship.

    The Best Picture award should have gone to MILK, or at the very least, Benjamin Button. These movies were filmed in the USA with USA money and hiring USA citizens. Haven’t we lost enough jobs to India, already? The 2008 Oscars was a rerun of the 2005 Oscars, the top award being given to a movie that had no significant performance by any actor (Crash) and was chosen to offset Hollywood’s homophobic stance on Brokeback Mountain, which should have won. Once again, the homophobics rule; it was a miracle that they agreed to recognize Sean Penn’s brilliant performance. Or was that the concession?

    MILK had depth – and it had significance for everyman, regardless of orientation. It was about American history. Not some silly India fairy-tale about teenagers.

    Since the actors performances in any movie comprise at least 50% or more of the movies worth, isn’t it most peculiar that not one actor from this Slumdog movie received the slightest recognition? To quote a critics stance on this film: “Like every non-nutritious piffle hastily-consumed, the guilty reflection will come in the long hours after.”

  2. Joe said

    I certainly hope and pray that the sympathy voting is done and over with. I am so tired of hearing comments on how great Heath Ledger as “The Joker”. There is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that if he were alive yesterday he WOULD NOT have won an Oscar for that role! The man is DEAD people. There was nothing special about his abilities, his skills as an actor or his personality that warrant such worship. Anyone who was up against him for any award that he won for that roll should feel insulted.
    As for “Slum Dog Millionaire”, I had heard it was a decent movie so I went to see it a while back. Wow, was I ever disappointed. It was one of the most boring films I had ever seen. I am actually shocked that it was nominated for anything let alone that it won 8 Oscars. The Oscars are officially now a joke!

  3. […] novelty will be gone, and most of those films won’t be as well made (even if they have more logical endings). A few years ago some predicted that “Moulin Rouge!” and “Chicago” would […]

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