Four surprise Oscar snubs

20 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘The Fierce Urgency of Now': How Lyndon Johnson, the great tactician, got the Great Society going.

Lucas, 70, was responding to ‘CBS This Morning’ host Gayle King’s question about whether he saw the all-white categories as a snub of eligible black actors, like Selma’s David Oyelowo.The Oscar nominations for the 87th Academy Awards were announced yesterday, and despite most us knowing who would get nominated, there were a couple of surprises which ended being those who were snubbed.

A few months after he became president of the United States, Lyndon Johnson told Bill Moyers, his speech writer and adviser, that he had precious little time to enact his legislative agenda. “In an ideal world,” Mr. Academy officials were heavily criticised for the lack of diversity in their top picks for the acting awards, but ‘Star Wars’ creator insists the snub came as no surprise to him. “There’s always controversy. For those who don’t know what ‘snub’ means in the awards season, it’s when a recipient, film or TV show deserved a nomination, but ended up being rejected for it. Johnson explained, a president would have two, four-year terms. “I won’t make it that far, of course, so let’s assume we have to do it all in 1965 and 1966, and probably in 1966 we’ll lose our big margin in Congress.

I think David, who was in (Lucas’ 2012 film) Red Tails, is truly one of the great actors of all time. “And you know, the director, Ava, is amazing… I think they’re very, very talented people. This snub was seen coming as DuVernay and her film Selma were snubbed in other prominent awards such as the Screen Actors Guild and Directors Guild of America.

Among the other snubs Selma received, Oyelowo’s nomination was one of them despite the high praise and several nominations from other award organisations. Johnson’s Great Society accomplishments included civil rights and voting rights bills, Medicare and Medicaid, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, Head Start, the War on Poverty, and the Immigration and Nationality Act. Many thought that Aniston would take that fifth slot for her performance in Cake as the actress received a nomination at almost every major award organisation. In a delicately wrought scene in which Coretta Scott King calls out her husband about his infidelities, some of the teenage girls reacted with a chorus of “oooohs.” DuVernay sets the tone for her portrayal of Lyndon Johnson as patronizing and skittish on civil rights in the first scene between the president and Dr.

L.B.J. stands above a seated M.L.K., pats him on the shoulder, and tells him “this voting thing is just going to have to wait” while he works on “the eradication of poverty.” Many of the teenagers by me bristled at the power dynamic between the men. Probably the biggest snub and surprise was The LEGO Movie who despite being critically acclaimed by critics and general moviegoers alike who both deemed it the best animation film of 2014 received no love from the Academy whatsoever.

Sadly, the legendary David Fincher never made the cut for Best Director for the well-received Gone Girl, but luckily the Golden Globes and some other award institutions acknowledged him. His command of the rules and the culture of the House and Senate, the strengths, weakness, and hobbyhorses of his colleagues, and his ability to coax, convince, and coerce them to vote his way, Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University, acknowledges, were crucial in getting so much landmark legislation passed. Strangely enough, Foxcatcher’s director Bennett Miller received a Best Director nomination, but his film didn’t even secure a Best Picture nomination which doesn’t make any sense.-M.L.K. relationship and was “much more slanted to Johnson.” Hollywood has done that with films like “Mississippi Burning,” which cast white F.B.I. agents as the heroes, or “Cry Freedom,” which made a white journalist the focus rather Denzel Washington’s anti-apartheid activist, Steve Biko. Top Johnson aide Jack Valenti told Michael Beschloss, the presidential historian, that L.B.J. aspired to pass a Voting Rights Act from his first night as president.

Valenti said that his boss talked to him about it the night of J.F.K.’s assassination in the bedroom of Johnson’s house in D.C., The Elms, before the newly sworn-in president went to sleep. And the Democratic landslide of 1964, which brought to Washington the most liberal class of elected officials in decades, clearly greased the wheels for Mr. Less clear (in the 1960s and in 2015), however, and virtually impossible to measure, is the impact of public opinion and grass-roots activity on the votes of politicians. Indeed, in the extent to which it transformed Capitol Hill (through sit-ins, protest marches, petitions by church members and leaders, and the mass media attention these activities generated) and paved the way for legislation mandating an end to racial discrimination in public accommodations and voting, the civil rights movement may well be more the exception than the rule. Significant external pressure was not much in evidence as congressmen and senators decided to vote yea or nay on other signature Great Society measures.

Filmmakers love to talk about their artistic license to distort the truth, even as they bank on the authenticity of their films to boost them at awards season. The war in Vietnam — and the “credibility gap” that accompanied it — took a toll on the president’s popularity (his job approval fell to 39 percent in 1968) and emboldened his critics. As I have written about “Lincoln,” “Zero Dark Thirty,” and “Argo,” and as The New York Review of Books makes clear about “The Imitation Game,” the truth is dramatic and fascinating enough. DuVernay had plenty of vile white villains — including one who kicks a priest to death in the street — and they were no doubt shocking to the D.C. school kids.

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