CHICAGO, Illinois, February 25, 2013 – Michelle Obama’s “Evita-like” showing at Sunday’s 85th Annual Academy Awards was strange and unsettling.
Reporters in the media room groaned collectively at her unannounced appearance. For many, the First Lady’s presentation for best picture, streamed live from the White House, was the culmination of a biased politicized Hollywood finally outing itself in full form.
But was it even more than that?
Michelle Obama’s presentation of the best picture award to ‘Argo’ has also raised the ugly specter of political favoritism.
That is what some political observers contend and here’s why:
‘Argo’ actor/director Ben Affleck has long been a financial supporter and outspoken shill for President Obama.
Last May, ‘Argo’ producer George Clooney held a $40,000 a plate star-studded fête at his Studio City, CA home for President Obama’s re-election and raised a whopping $15 million.
The actor raised another $625,000 for Obama for
The President has said that he consider Clooney a “close friend.”
That’s some “friend.”
News outlets are reporting that movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, a major political donor to President Obama, secretly arranged for the First Lady to present the coveted award. Last August, Weinstein held a posh $35,000 a plate dinner for President Obama’s re-election at his
He had previously written checks to Obama for more than $35,800 and more than $75,000 to Democrat candidates in the past election cycle.
The Center for Responsive Politics has estimated Weinstein’s fundraising bundling effort for Obama for
Weinstein also produced and aired “Seal Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden” on the National Geographic Channel two days before the November election. The film was criticized by Republicans as a thinly-veiled political effort to aid the President’s re-election.
All this has left
It wouldn’t be the first time that questions of political favoritism have been raised at these awards. After losing the presidential race to George Bush in 2000, former Vice President Al Gore was awarded an Oscar for ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ as a consolation prize in 2007.
He was later awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in climate change and a Grammy to boot.
In this heated political environment, few believe that Oscars are doled out purely based on artistic talent anymore. For some winners, it is a calculation based on future box office potential and the influence of insider heavyweights.
Regardless of whether or not ‘Argo’ actually deserved the award for best picture, the First Lady’s appearance as a presenter for the evening’s prize was odd and wildly inappropriate.
But questions of political favoritism raise more serious issues.
The Academy Awards is losing credibility with its viewers as it continues it strident left-leaning idealogical march, fusing entertainment with increasingly transparent political and cultural agenda.
Hollywood hopes that if they add a few spicy dance numbers with Catherine Zeta-Jones or if Jennifer Hudson sings that perhaps – just perhaps - the viewers at home won’t notice the political slant.
But they do.
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