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The Blue & Gray Press | May 24, 2017

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Staff Ed: Where does politics belong in Hollywood?

Staff Ed: Where does politics belong in Hollywood?

By THE BLUE & GRAY PRESS STAFF 

Anyone who tuned into the Oscars Award show, or any award show for that matter, isn’t prompted to think ‘politics.’ Usually people are trying to escape the oversaturation of political rhetoric when they turn on the TV to watch an award show but that ideal has not been the case as of late.

This phenomenon isn’t new, it happened in 1975 when Bert Schneider won “Best Documentary Feature” and took advantage of the limelight to talk about how great it was that Americans pressed to end the war in Vietnam. Frank Sinatra later followed with an apologetic statement on behalf of the Academy and to this day we still have actors using the stage as a political platform.

Some may think that it is impossible to separate politics from the positions people hold in their line of work, others think that acceptance speeches aren’t the mediums for platform pitches but there have been effective and productive examples where actors have played the role of an activist, figuratively speaking that is.

After another Oscars Award show just past, the staff of The Blue & Gray Press want to look at some examples of political platform usage on stage and some that were more effective than others. In many cases, the most effective examples are those in which the people speaking are heavily involved or personally attached to an important political issue.

Asghar Farhadi, the film director of Iran’s “The Salesman” which won the foreign-language film award, is one of those examples of a person who productively makes a political statement at the award shows. He boycotted the awards to protest against President Trump’s travel ban.

There are times when the pictures that win awards are already based on political topics or act as commentary to the current political climate and in these instances, it would be strange not to place any attention on the political issue on display.

Also, a lack of a political statement may be perceived as a political stance in itself and this is dangerous territory if and when actors choose to not take a stance or separate themselves politically. 

There really is no logical way of separating people and politics when the state is so heavily integrated into people’s’ lives and dictates the positions or roles they play in their everyday routines. Even just the memorable appearance of 98-year-old Katherine Johnson, the NASA scientist from which the movie “Hidden Figures” is based on, makes a political statement about the history of racism

If people only accepted the movie at face value, for the performance and production, then the purpose of creating such a moving picture that comments on the history of racism in our country would have no effect.

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