An Oscar For Our Troops
So had you just about given up on Hollywood, regarding the movie capital as simply a collection of hopeless la-la land liberals--or worse, as an elitist gaggle of heartland-bashing snobs? OK, but guess what: Hollywood hears you. They feel your pain, or at least they worry about their own pain, if people don’t buy tickets and DVDs. As we shall see, Hollywood can adapt. Show business, after all, is a business.
But first, of course, as if to prove that Hollywoodites were determined to live up to their own unlovable stereotype, the Motion Picture Academy chose, as the co-emcee of last night’s Academy Award show, none other than Alec “Bloviator” Baldwin. Baldwin once said he would leave the country if George W. Bush were elected president, then added that Bush’s election victory was more damaging to America than 9/11, and has spent the last decade bashing Republicans and conservatives, when, of course, he was not leaving abusive voice-mails to his own young daughter.
Also last night, we saw Barbra Streisand, queen of Hollywood liberals, appearing onstage as one of the award presenters. She, too, had once said that she would leave the country if Bush became president, although evidently life in Malibu is just too sweet.
And so to whom who did Streisand present the Best Director Oscar to last night? The honor went to Kathryn Bigelow, director of “The Hurt Locker,” an Iraq war movie. OK, sure, one might think--one of the string of Iraq-trashing movies that Hollywood has cranked out over the last few years, movies that have included such big stars as Meryl Streep and Tom Cruise. But actually, no. “Hurt Locker” is a very different kind of Iraq war movie. Bigelow herself gave us a sense of her perspective as she accepted the statue from Streisand: “I’d just like to dedicate this to the women and men of the military who risk their lives every day in Iraq and Afghanistan and around the world. May they come home safe.” Gee, those words sound admiring and patriotic.
As I wrote about the movie, here in the Fox Forum on February 2:
"'Locker” takes absolutely no position on the war. There’s no politics, no discussion of Bush, or Cheney, or Rumsfeld, or even of 9/11. It’s just taken as a given that this is what these men do: they fight. More precisely, they work in Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD), and so they are, literally, lifesavers. The men are presented as technicians, coolly doing a cool job--if you think of life on the edge as cool. . . . But the “Locker”-men are more than technicians. They are heroes. Competent, yes, but courageous beyond any regular comprehension."
Therefore, I concluded in that piece, “By that reckoning, ‘Locker’ would rate as pro-war, because the warriors are presented as better versions of ourselves.”
And now, this is the movie that also has walked away with the Best Picture award, in addition to Best Director--bringing the grand total to six Oscars in all. Back on stage to receive the Best Picture prize, Bigelow added:
“Perhaps one more dedication. To men and women all over the world who--sorry to reiterate--wear a uniform, not just the military: HazMat, emergency, firemen. They are there for us, and we are there for them.”
It’s not possible to deduce, from those words, where Bigelow stands on some of the raging political controversies of the day. Is she for or against Obamacare? Or a tax increase? Who knows?
But we do we know that Bigelow has an obvious admiration for the men and women who keep us safe, who risk their lives to protect our lives, who defend order against radicals and terrorists. In fact, she feels so much admiration about those protectors that she made a movie about them. And so in that sense, Bigelow upholds the conservative order. And for her efforts, she and her team receive six Oscars from Baldwin, Streisand & Co.
If I might be permitted a point of personal indulgence here, I will say I predicted it. Here in the Fox Forum last month, I wrote, “In terms of the big prize itself, ‘Locker’ has the edge.” And the reason cited was that the Iraq war is safely over, it seems, and Bush is out of office, and so now Hollywood can “afford” to honor the sacrifice--and, yes, the glory--of the war without giving aid and comfort to the political enemy:
"So now, why is “Hurt Locker” doing so well among the critics and chatterers? Answer: Because it’s quietly pro-war. After another divisive war, Hollywood has a chance to get back in the good graces of the American people, who always want to see our fighting men portrayed positively."
Our fighting men portrayed positively. That’s what “The Hurt Locker” is all about, and that’s what Hollywood honored last night. Now that’s something to celebrate.
James P. Pinkerton is a writer and Fox News contributor. He is the editor/founder of the Serious Medicine Strategy blog.
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