The Oscars and Hollywood's Role in American Culture

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Hollywood's often accused of rank commercialism that aims for the lowest common denominator. This year, well-made fantasies like The Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter and King Kong earned the big money, but the nominees for Best Picture have been weak at the box office and strong on social and political themes: Brokeback Mountain and Capote, both with gay characters; Goodnight and Good Luck, about watchdog journalism in an age of paranoia; Munich, about Israeli agents and the psychology of revenge; and Crash, about continuing racism in Los Angeles. Do Americans want films that challenge their unspoken feelings on race, sex and politics? Why isn't there an Academy Award for comedy? We hear from social activists, film critics and other journalists.
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Nominees for Best Picture: Also discussed, these films were nominated for other Oscars:

Los Angeles Times' article on Kurds and Sunni Arabs ouster of Iraqi Prime Minster


Charles Krauthammer's (Washington Post) column on this year's Oscars

Pinkerton's article on politics in this year's Oscars

Rainer's article on Germany's "fact-based" Sophie Scholl, nominee for Best Foreign Film

Lobbying Transparency and Accountability Act of 2005 (S 2128)

Birnbaum's article on rejection of independent ethics office



Warren Olney