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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Posts Tagged ‘Heath Ledger’

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.

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