Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Will Obama Re-election Affect Oscar Race?

First, I would like to congratulate President Obama on his hard fought and well-deserved reelection. But now that this election is over it is time for us as a country to move on and continue to work for the betterment of the American people. It is also time to keep moving on in this exciting Oscar race that it is about to explode in a couple of weeks. As all of these events are occuring at the same time, it occured to me that in small ways, the reelection of a Hollywood favorite (sorry Clint) could impact the Oscar race. I know some of you are thinking that I am overreaching at this point, but because Hollywood became so invested in Obama's reelection, their mood, their thinking, or their political views could have an impact on how they vote on the Oscar ballot in the next couple of months.

I personally think that this potent and wild election season, no matter the outcome, has had a positive effect, including lots of "parallel press", on there particular films: Argo, Lincoln, and Zero Dark Thiry. All three are about important political and national events, all have endings that show the spirit of the American people and the greatestness of America's men and women in uniform, its leaders, and its intelligence community. Guaranteed, Zero Dark Thirty has yet to be seen, but if it lives up to its hype, then the reelection of the Commander in Chief that made the call to storm the barricade and take Osama bin Laden's life, could help boost its press and its buzz. If Mitt Romney had won, I think Zero Dark Thirty could have been Hollywood's middle-finger, basically saying, "Hey, look what our guy did? Top that!" But the general press and constant barrage of the election, and the issues that it brought up will put the film in the spotlight.
Argo has had an interesting parallel to the Benghazi attacks in Libya, the idea that American buildings in hostile foreign countries can be taken over and American citizens attacked, makes Argo just as poignant and timely as it would have been in the early 80's. Furthermore, while it may not have been its ulitmate goal, it shows that a Democratic administration took steps to try to secure some of those that were able to get out before the storming of the embassy. It makes Carter look a lot better, once again, whether it intends to or not. It's timeliness, and its liberal vibe may play well with rejuvinated Hollywood liberals who are feeling good in the aftermath of this election.

The last film is Lincoln. So many voters could easily make parallels of the divided nation that Lincoln faced, to the one that Obama is now facing in the aftermath of a tight and brutal election. Now I know that it is crazy to think that any American president has ever, or will ever, face the kind of division and crisis that Lincoln faced. But the parallels are already being drawn (see Time's "What Would Lincoln Do?" cover), and will continue to be drawn, which makes it, along with Argo and Zero Dark Thirty, a zeitgeist film that has heat.

The Oscar race will come down to precursor support, critics' awards, the industry guilds, the reactions from the public, etc.. These are the big factors. But lots of films will have these things going their way. It is the little factors, the things that no one thinks of, that time and time again cause upsets at the Oscars, or at least change the directories of the campaigns as they unfold. So while many will scoff at my notion that recent national events will change the Oscar race, we cannot underestimate the power of the world around us, the political activism of Hollywood, and the fragile state of the Oscar race at any given moment.


  1. I personally don't think it will hinder the race at all. People vote for the films because they are good, not because of the president.

  2. My point in the end, was that the election as a process I think has helped boost some of the press, due to constant parallels being drawn between current events, and the ones seen in these movies. I don't necessarily think that it has a huge impact either, but I do think it has helped broaden the conversation beyond the film blogosphere for these films, and helps contribute to their heat. In the end it will be about which films they like better, but in an Oscar race, every factor that helps boost a film's profile helps.