We have long known that we cannot trust the Academy of Motion Pictures. Over the years they have made the inexcusable mistake of awarding the best picture Oscar to Going My Way over Double Indemnity, Kramer vs. Kramer over Apocalypse Now and even Dances With Wolves over Goodfellas. Need I say more? The list of bad choices is miles long.
Fast forward to the last eight years, did the recent academy nominees have anything to do with George W. Bush? No. It is much smarter to question the Academy that nominates the films instead of the man in office when they were nominated.
In the December 7th issue of Newsweek, contributor Ramin Setoodeh wrote a piece giving us his reasoning as to why Bush is to blame for bad films of recent years:
“You can blame Hollywood’s doom and gloom on the Oscars, but I’m not going to. Instead, I think it’s George W. Bush’s fault. Most liberal directors felt restless under his presidency, and they pushed the envelope with over-the-top, operatic tragedies.”
Therefore, I could blame Obama for the recent fourth season finale of Dexter ending on such an upsetting note. However, I won’t because it obviously has nothing to do with him. Of course, there has been a great deal of darker films lately but that isn’t to say that they are bad (or pushing the envelope). Both No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood are dark but remain great films in their own right. However, we have learned not to judge a year of Hollywood films by who the Academy recognizes. After all, they snubbed Clint Eastwood’s magnificent Gran Torino in 2008 (should we blame this on Bush?). In fact, many times seeing the list of nominees provides us with a good list of what not to watch!
“From 1997 to 2000, during Bill Clinton’s second term, 20 percent of the best-picture nominees were comedies (Shakespeare in Love, The Full Monty, As Good as It Gets, etc.). During Bush’s second term, the Academy nominated only two comedies—Juno and Little Miss Sunshine—for best picture, and roughly three fourths of all the films (The Departed, There Will Be Blood, The Reader) fixated on death.”
In a new low, even for Newsweek, we are told to judge an American presidency based on the films nominated during their term. Setoodeh praises the films nominated during Bill Clinton’s years in office but fails to remember that in 1997 Titanic was awarded over L.A. Confidential. This is hardly acceptable for most film buffs (and it’s certainly not Clinton’s fault). There are always good and bad films that fall under each presidency. Pinning the bad ones to a president you don’t approve of lowers your ability to engage in useful political discourse tenfold.
“Big screen comedies enjoyed a renaissance during the Bush years, partly thanks to the Judd Apatow machine. Consider Wedding Crashers, Superbad and Borat as just a sampling of the side-splitting films from the last eight years.”
This is a conveniently forgotten aspect on behalf of Newsweek. Instead of questioning the Bush administration for bad nominations maybe we should question the Academy that nominates them. Of course, that would be too easy and there is no way to blame Bush for that.
Over the years the academy snubbed such great films as The Searchers, Vertigo, Rear Window, Rio Bravo, The Big Sleep and a list of great films that doesn’t seem to end. For most film lovers this list of overlooked movies is enough to write off the organization that votes on them (instead of the president in office during each snub). Should we blame JFK for the academy’s decision not to nominate The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence? Of course not.
If Newsweek is going to continue succumbing to Bush Derangement Syndrome, they really need to find stronger arguments than this.
BONUS: Red Eye host Greg Gutfeld also responds to Newsweek:
- Pro-American Filmmaker John Hughes Will Be Missed
- Bush 41 Calls Maddow and Olbermann "Sick Puppies"
- A Spoonful of Saccharine: Geopolitical Realities No Barrier to Maddow Blaming Bush for All Problems