Can politics take the Oscars yet again?
With films like The Hurt Locker and Argo that shed light on political schemes and the antics winning top awards, it would appear that D.C. is a central part of Hollywood’s favorite films.
Over the years, the Awards themselves have had their ups and downs, good hosts and bad hosts (James Franco and Anne Hathaway, we’re looking at you), good winners and bad winners.
With films like “The Hurt Locker” and “Argo” that shed light on political schemes and the antics winning top awards, it would appear that D.C. is a central part of Hollywood’s favorite films.
Last year was the perfect year for politically based films.
Along with the Best Picture winner “Argo,” there was the highly controversial post-9/11 manhunt “Zero Dark Thirty,” the exploration into one of the country’s greatest presidents, “Lincoln,” and anti-slavery spaghetti western “Django Unchained.”
The two front-runners last year were, by far, “Argo” and “Zero Dark Thirty,” and although different in many ways, they had one main commonality: They both provided an inside look into the government. The complicated CIA plot following Ben Affleck’s character and his dramatic Hollywood scheme to rescue the diplomats during the Iran hostage crisis shows a side of the CIA that isn’t just spies and paperwork.
“Zero Dark Thirty” put a face to the woman responsible for leading the hunt for Osama bin Laden. Politics, not necessarily army tactics, took the forefront of this manhunt. And although the 2010 win for “The Hurt Locker” came out of the blue for most viewers at home, the political, war story resonated with Academy voters.
So where does all that leave us this year, where no movie is a political standout?
One could argue that “American Hustle,” with its FBI operation and double-crossing conmen should take the political forefront. On the surface level, it is on-par with “Argo,” taking a real operation and adding a lighter tone and some Hollywood-style airbrushing.
However, the 2013 film that leaps to the forefront is “12 Years a Slave.” As if catapulted by the success of “Django Unchained,” Steve McQueen’s realistic portrayal of Solomon Northup’s journey from freedom to slavery and back again is poised to be at the head of the Best Picture race.
But, the competition is stiff and picking a personal favorite may be easy, but trying to determine what the Academy of voters will choose is another ball game. If they vote like they did last year, “12 Years a Slave” or “American Hustle” could come out on top.