The Oscars turned 85 tonight. But they took a leap backward into the dark ages with the politicization of the motion picture arts and sciences when the Best Picture award (which went to Argo) was presented by the president’s wife – Michelle Obama, an aggressive, harsh critic like her husband of people who are productive – for the first time in Oscar history. The moment cemented what most already know: that Hollywood is dominated by left-wing dogma. No one could seriously claim that such a presentation by a right-wing president’s wife would have been possible.
However, it would have been just as improper and demeaning to people who work in the movie industry. The Oscars, as I’ve written, are at their best a kind of celebration of glamor and naming the best movie of the year is supposed to represent the industry’s highest achievement. Having an official representative of the government confer the top award for an artistic profession that prides itself – or should – on the free expression of ideas is a disgraceful idea, particularly in today’s context of government control. It’s not just that it’s incongruous, though it is that, too; government-sponsored academy awards – even the appearance of government sanction – trivialize and denigrate the Oscars, the movies and the artists. Obama’s wife ruined the Academy Awards.
That the Obama administration’s secretary of state recently endorsed the winning picture, which relates to matters of state, only adds to the disturbing nature of tonight’s awards presentation. Whatever the merits of Argo, which is made and released by prominent top Democrats, the victory is tainted by the fact of its approval and awarding by the federal government. It was bad enough that at some point the lackluster host, whose humor is based almost exclusively on ridicule at the expense of others, began to sound like a used-car salesman. Or that most of the telecast, including songs and jokes about slavery, orgies and the objectification of women, overshadowed the show’s best aspects, namely Steven Spielberg’s dignified Lincoln and Barbra Streisand’s poignant rendition of the late composer Marvin Hamlisch’s theme from The Way We Were (1973). The best Oscar being granted by a politician’s wife in Washington, DC, made a mockery of everything the movies can and ought to be, especially when the politician and wife are New Left radicals intent on destroying the nation that made making movies possible.