I watched the 79th Annual Academy Awards on Sunday. I have obscure programming choices, I know. I thought it was much better produced than in the last couple years. I particularly enjoyed the sound effect choir (how can humans make those noises?) and how they presented the costumes up for an Oscar. That dude rocking out as Eddie Murphy was quite.interesting.
Most of all, I was delighted that Martin Scorsese finally won an Oscar, and that “The Departed”-a completely badass movie-won Best Picture instead of the other arty nominees. And thank god “Dreamgirls” wasn’t even nominated. That turned into a big steaming pile about an hour in.
The evening basically went as predicted, with Helen Mirren, Forest Whitaker, and Jennifer Hudson all taking home acting prizes. So for me the highlight of the evening was seeing our honorable former Vice President twice, with another joke from the host to boot, who has not spoken on our lovely campus as I write this, but will have already by the time you read this. Al Gore first came up to the stage for a bit with Leonardo DiCaprio; and by the way, how does a guy with that name keep playing Irish guys?
Leo did his best to get everyone’s favorite climate expert to declare his candidacy for the next presidential election, but it was, of course, not to be. Not yet, anyway. This joke was obviously coming, but the reaction was what interested me: wild and thunderous applause from the Hollywood audience.
Much has been said, often derisively, about “Hollywood liberals” and how they ought to just keep their damn yaps shut. Apparently, celebrities and politics “just don’t mix.” But it is certainly worth noting that many people-probably a majority of them, in fact-in Hollywood are liberal.
I think the reason for this tilt can best be explained in the context of one of Ellen DeGeneres’ jokes from the opening monologue. Remarking upon the diversity of the candidates, she quipped “Such diversity in the room in a year where there have been so many negative things said about people’s race, religion and sexual orientation. And I want to put this out there: if there weren’t blacks, Jews or gays, there would be no Oscars.”
The reason that many people in show business are socially liberal, as well as Gore supporters, is the same reason many people in cities are socially liberal: they have actually met and communicated with blacks, Jews, and gays. As soon as a prejudiced person actually meets the target of their prejudice, they usually suddenly realize that they’re not different after all. Enough people realized this in 2000 to elect a man who did not allow the institutionalization of discrimination and hate. Unfortunately, they were overruled, 5-4, a couple weeks later. Hopefully, those crazy Hollywood liberals, and now that liberal with an Oscar, can help restore sanity in 2008.
Patrick Gibbons is a senior majoring in political science. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.