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Reminder: Politics Looms Large in Who Wins an Oscar

The biggest snub from this year’s Academy Award nominations?

Al Gore’s climate change film “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power” failed to score a Best Documentary nomination. The 2006 original, by comparison, snared the coveted trophy in that category.

Otherwise, today’s Oscar news offered few surprises. Gary Oldman will fight for the Best Actor Oscar for his superlative turn in “Darkest Hour.” “The Post’s” Meryl Streep earned another Oscar nomination -- her 21st.

“Get Out” shouldered past the Academy’s aversion to horror with several key nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director (Jordan Peele).

Yet a feature from The Hollywood Reporter published earlier this month reveals the sad truth behind the Academy Awards. Politics continue to play an outsized role in deciding Oscar winners.

“Oscars: How Real-World Events Could Impact the Foreign-Language Race” forecasts one category in the annual event. The story’s angle? It’s all about Trump.

Anti-Trump sentiment over the so-called Muslim ban arguably powered Iran’s ‘The Salesman’ to its 2017 Oscar, and global political fault lines could rock this year’s contenders.

Wait. What about art? Acting? Storytelling?

Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel — a move resoundingly rejected in a vote by the U.N. General Assembly — adds another twist. Will Academy voters view support for Foxtrot as tacit support for Trump’s Middle East politics?

It’s a similar issue with Loveless, from Russian auteur Andrey Zvyagintsev. Few in the Academy would want to be seen supporting Moscow or Vladimir Putin, especially with the ongoing investigation into possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign ahead of the 2016 election.

This isn’t a random blog entry from a neophyte film reporter. The Hollywood Reporter stands as one of the top industry publications, if not the preeminent chronicler of film news.

So how does that impact potential Oscar winners? Did voters, still smarting from the #OscarsSoWhite meme, select more black nominees this year than usual? This year’s nominees include Mary J. Blige, Octavia Spencer, Denzel Washington and “Get Out’s” Daniel Kaluuya, the latter a true surprise.

And how might partisan Hollywood influence the biggest award of the year -- Best Picture?

Kyle Smith of National Review fame shared the following Tweet about “The Shape of Water,” which earned a robust 13 nominations.

He’s being a bit playful. He also could be on to something.

The Oscars have always been influenced by outside factors. For years if an actor or actress was “due” they stood a better chance of winning.

These days, a film’s political weight is another, often significant factor in the names read aloud on Oscar night. Last year’s Best Picture winner, “Moonlight,” featured a young black man coming to terms with being gay. It bested “La La Land,” a virtual love letter to both Los Angeles and the Hollywood musical.

Twenty years ago Oscar voters might have gone for “La La Land.” Last year, at a time when the industry felt President Donald Trump looked to smite minorities and gay Americans, they chose “Moonlight.”

Maybe Smith has a point.

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25 Comments

  1. How did Denzel and Get Out star get oscar nods?!?!?!

    When did Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri message surpass other qualities that determine great film making?!?!?

    How the hell can you say Logan for best Adapted Screenplay in the same breath as Call Me By Your Name?!??!?!

    1. Denzel? Easy: All the last minute allegations against James Franco torpedoed his nomination. Denzel was an easy and PC fill in.

  2. Variety or Hollywood Reporter did a story with an ‘anonymous Academy voter’ one year who gave a few fun facts. “12 years a slave”? Many voters didn’t actually watch it. They just voted for it because if it didn’t win, everyone would be called racists.

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  3. The only ones who care about the Oscars are those out of touch and insulting inside Hollywood types who only get off lecturing the country on how they should behave but are venial, corrupt, racist and abusers. You pass up quality in order to satisfy your artistic and political sensibilities. Let me clue you in. If you self identify as an artist you are not one. Art cannot be judged in the generation it is produced it is just ego tripping and you are not fooling anybody. America won’t watch the Oscars and if you continue to produce the political trash you keep making no one will watch it either. Look at your box office reciepts.

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  4. If GET OUT wins Best Picture…it will be silly beyond belief. The movie looks like a TV movie. It like a 30 minute Twilight Zone episode padded out to 90 minutes. Pathetic if PC nonsense wins.

  5. That might be true of The Salesman, but it was still a worthy choice of those nominated. The real travesty was South Korea chose not to select Handmaiden as its entry, as it was the best film any country produced in 2016.

  6. Maybe? Limbaugh used to have a feature on his show using ” environmental wacko picks ” to determine the winner of football games.

    It’s been a very long time since the “liberal meme” method has not been a surefire way to determine who will win an oscar

  7. As we know now, Hollywood is a big brothel, where women and minors exchange sex for money and fame. Their grandstanding is therefore ridiculous, with all this uncleaned sperm on coaches and dresses. Rape enablers trying to teach us morality, with fake outrages and orgasms.

  8. My bet is on “Call Me by My Name” or as I like to call it, the Kevin Spacey Story. The voters are just hypocritical enough to lavish praise on another gay themed movie about an under age male and an older gentleman, while blackballing Spacey for some of the same behavior.

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