Oscar 2007: Gore’s Hollywood

As I mentioned on The Fedora Chronicles Hollywood home page, here are my comments about the Oscar Award ceremony that was held at the end of February.

I’m disappointed on a few levels.

First is the obvious Fedora Chronicles Connection: Not enough Period Films were nominated much less won. Granted, The Black Dahlia was a film that I had looked forward to a lot, and I loved almost every minute of it. For those who did see it understand that there were a few scenes with gratuitous sex and violence that disqualified it from having my full endorsement. Regardless, I thought the costumes, score and cinematography were excellent. Of course, The Black Delilah was nominated for Best Cinematography but lost to Pan’s Labyrinth – which is terrific for us because part of that movie takes place during the 1940’s… unfortunately the location is Fascist Spain after the rise of Franko. Frankly, though… I thought the cinematography in The Illusionist was far better then either of them.

I also wanted to see films such as Hollywoodland and The Good German do better, again because they were promising period films about my favorite era. The Good German, a motion picture about the personal and political fall-out in Berlin after the end of World War II, was nominated for best Score but lost to Babel.

I wanted Flags Of Our Fathers to be this years Saving Private Ryan and take every award it was nominated for. I wanted it to be nominated for best picture and win simply because it tried to honor them men who fought in World War II and explored their aftermath and their home coming much like “The Best Years Of Our Lives ” did when that was released in 1946. We need more movies that honor and celebrate our World War II veterans, now more then ever. Maybe not the best reason to want a film to win a "Best Of" award, but I'll put it out there that is the reason why I wanted "Flags Of Our Father's" to win and accept any criticism I have coming.

Success breads more success and I wanted the films that I followed to do better. I’m happy that Jennifer Hudson broke down some barriers and won an Oscar for her performance in Dreamgirls I hope we see more movies like that in the future.

Moving beyond the Period Films that didn’t do as well as I hoped, I was ready to heap praise on the message behind An Inconveint Truth and how Hollywood embraced the cause for the environment. My enthusiasm for the message about saving the environment has changed to disappointment at their politicizing this awards ceremony and Al Gore’s hypocrisy. Let me point out that I’m more encouraged about the message about doing more to curb pollution then the actual movie itself. I don’t need to be lectured by someone who had 8 years to work on a problem and did nothing then passes along the same information that’s been available to those of us who watch similar documentaries on from anywhere from PBS to The Discovery Channel. I’m transplanting Trees on my own property so they have a better chance to survive while Al Gore and his entourage are riding around in a caravan of Lincoln Navigators with the Air Conditioning blasting? I digress.

Regardless of what ever is causing Global Warming, weather it’s the Sun outputting more energy and causing all planets with an atmosphere to rise in temperature, our releasing Green House gasses or a combination of the two, I agree that we need to do more to protect the planet and be responsible with the products we consume. Just as there were those like Humphrey Bogart who challenged the McCarthy Witch Hunts that occurred during the Red Menace Scare, there are many in Hollywood who are raising their voices and saying that something must be done.

Those who won Oscars for “An Inconvenient Truth” such as Melissa Etheridge for her son "I Need to Wake Up," and the movies director Davis Guggenheim heaped praise on Al Gore for taking up the cause and being a light and an example for us all.

The next day The Tennessee Center for Policy Research issued a statement that they discovered that Al Gore’s electrical consumption at home is more than 20 times the national average. That just shatters the illusion that Al Gore really cares. Granted, as my wife noted there may be other factors to be considered such as security since he was the Vice President and there are some crazies out there who wouldn’t mind becoming famous by taking a shot at him. And maybe that’s an excuse but that sort of misses the point. Al Gore’s attitude is nothing more then a mere snide demand that we all do what he says and not do as he does. Suddenly his concern for the environment is nothing more then a sham. I would also like to know how much of his family fortune has been bulked with all of it’s stock and ties with Occidental Oil while we continue to pay high prices at the pump.

The Oscar Award Ceremony had become a coming out for Hollywood and for Al Gore’s quasi-announcement for this 2008 campaign rather then be about the movies themselves.

This also brings me to something I’ve observed: Why is it that only one Documentary Film can capture the imagination of Hollywood and the media? Every year it’s only one documentary film they receives all the attention and is guaranteed an award while none of us ever hear about the others nominated until awards night. That’s my observation, I might be wrong. I would love it if someone could tell me of other years when this wasn’t the case, when more then one documentary was promoted during Award Season.

But, despite the downers, the best part of the evening was seeing Martin Scorsese finally win an Oscar. Mr. Scorsese won for his film The Departed, but I had hoped that his earlier film “The Aviator” would have one. I thoroughly enjoyed the film he directed about Hollywood Icon and Aviation Giant Howard Hughes and thought that was one of the best films that year… but you take what you get.

Seeing three of his closest friends present the award to him, Francis Ford Coppola, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas was an extra bonus. When I saw those three on stage, I thought it was incredible and I just assumed correctly that Mr. Scorsese had already won.

That’ll bring me to George Lucas for a minute. I highly doubt that there are many other people who are as much of a fan then myself who also have lives and various interests… and I’m trying to say this with out bias: But I think that since this man has made so many films that have drawn people to the theater to the extent as he has, I think he deserves a Life Time achievement Oscar. Here’s a man who’s done more for Motion Pictures then anyone else – his company Industrial Light And Magic constantly brings Special Effects to higher levels, Same goes for Skywalker Sound for Audio. Many of his films have had audiences line up around whole blocks.

Perhaps what George Lucas needs to do is finish the next sequel for Raiders Of The Lost Ark and go back to making the ground breaking films that he used to make such as THX-1138, American Graffiti and The Original Star Wars Film. George Lucas was at his best when he made films that were both tributes to films of the Golden Era and the Saturday Serials and films that were never seen before.

While there are no films on the horizon that I'm really looking forward to, I really hope that next year we'll see a better Oscar Award Ceremony that's more about movies and not about the politics of Hollywood or politics in general. I'm also not alone when I say that there should come a day when Hollywood starts focusing more on Art and Entertainment and pull away from the hype and the bottom line it's business has unfortunately become.

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Your thoughts on the Oscars?