Politics Equals Entertainment Equals Politics


As I contemplate the Oscar winners, I find myself confronting a modern irony. The nature of today’s politics is more like entertainment, and today’s entertainment has become political. Donald Trump is now the star of the largest reality TV show ever, and Hollywood (along with TV content) is being driven by race and gender issues of equal representation and compensation.

Heaven forbid that the politics and entertainment are converging and we will soon be unable to distinguish between them. But the more likely truth may be that we are too easily bored today, and need to be entertained while we consume our politics, and are willing to digest some political cod-liver oil with our entertainment.

And so back to the Academy Awards. . .

Some of the biggest themes this year are single moms, gender issues, and the ‘fifties. My predictions (not my picks) for the biggest awards are as follows:

[pullquote align=”left” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Leonardo Di Caprio may well get his first Oscar. He did well to appear cold, in pain, and determined for over two hours.[/pullquote]

Best Supporting Actor

Mark Rylance from Bridge of Spies played a Soviet spy. He is little known outside Broadway in the US, though he is considered a major theatre and screen talent in the UK. He lived in Wisconsin at one time while his father taught at UW-Milwaukee. He was super compelling in this role. Spoiler for him could be anyone in this tight category—but next most likely would be Tom Hardy for an amazing performance in Revenant. The sentimental favorite after those two would be Sly Stallone for Creed.

Best Supporting Actress

It’s probably going to be Alicia Vikander for The Danish Girl. I was particularly taken by her performance in Ex Machina. She was at best unimpressive in The Man from UNCLE, though. But she’s been winning. Spoiler for her might be Kate Winslet for her role in the film Steve Jobs.

Best Actor

His momentum has been growing in the early awards, and no one else seems to be challenging him. Leonardo Di Caprio may well get his first Oscar. He did well to appear cold, in pain, and determined for over two hours.

Spoiler upset? Bryan Cranston from Trumbo.

Best Actress

Brie Larson has been running away with the awards for her role in Room. I would be amazed if she lost now. This film is the indie spoiler of the year so far. She and her five year-old costar seemed that they could only be a natural mother and son. The single mom theme has been very strong.

Best Director

This is a tough category this year. It could go a few places, though so far Inarritu for The Revenant is a favorite. I think Mad Max could win for pure spectacle and scope. Then again, The Big Short was a tough and complex topic to work with. Even Spotlight and Room are eligible. There, I named them all!

Best Animated Film

This can only go to Anamolisa in my opinion. It was quite a film by a past Oscar winner.

Best Documentary Film

I think Cartel Land wins this. Amy could upset, though.

Best Picture

I would love to see Room get this award and turn big-studio Hollywood on its head. It was good enough to win and it’s the popular political theme, too. I would be consoled if either The Big Short or Spotlight won—both were important, quality films. The Revenant has some momentum right now, though. Politically speaking, it was about macho frontier stuff—which I like, but aside from some balancing content about Native Americans (and the single mom them if you count the female bear), it’s not much of a social statement.

Soundtrack (Original Score)

Ennio Morricone should win for The Hateful Eight. Among other things, he did the “Dollar Trilogy” Westerns, Once Upon a Time in the West, and Once Upon a Time in America with Sergio Leone (I own all the soundtracks). He is an amazing talent who is considered a legend. He is in his eighties now.

So there you have them. As far as the other awards, Mad Max might take home a few, and Room should be a surprise winner of two or three Oscars. The overall winner of the most awards is looking like Revenant.


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