Patricia Arquette, winner of Best Supporting Actress, mentioned “Equal Pay” in her Oscar acceptance speech, and wingnuts on Twitter promptly lost their shit.
Argo Screw Yourself! Why Django Unchained Was the Only Movie That Mattered at the Oscars - Reason.com
[…]It’s no simple feat to reimagine the Man with No Name as a black slave and in so doing Tarantino powerfully revised one of the central plots in American storytelling, one first identified by the critic Leslie Fiedler.
In his 1948 essay, “Come Back to the Raft Ag’in, Huck Honey!,” Fiedler posited that much of classic American literature revolved around a juvenile fantasy in which white boys flee from what is inevitably figured in explicitly female terms as civilized adulthood. Again and again, observed Fiedler, at the heart of “classic” American tales, you find a white male who runs away in the company of a dark Other rather than submit to the pressures of living an engaged, responsible adult life. The result is a sort of “innocent homosexuality,” or a pre-pubescent fantasy in which boys can always stay boys, having adventures out of reach of girls. The archetypes include Natty Bumppo and Chingachgook in Cooper’s Leatherstocking Tales, Ishmael and Queequeg in Moby-Dick, and, of course Huck Finn and his slave companion Jim. Throughout Huckleberry Finn, Jim stays close with Huck, who at novel’s end famously declares that he must light out for the territory rather than be “sivilized”. What makes Jim’s devotion to Huck—he sticks around even when he can easily escape from Tom Sawer’s relatives who are holding him captive—even more stunning is the fact that his original impetus for escaping from his owner was a fear that he was going to be sold down the river, away from his wife who lives on a nearby plantation. Early on in the novel, as Huck and Jim plan to make landfall in Cairo, Illinois (where Jim can be free), Jim talks of working to make money to buy his wife’s freedom.
Django Unchained reverses this narrative in a way particularly suited to 21st century America that is largely, though certainly not fully, post-racial. Christoph Waltz’s character, the bounty hunter King Schultz, forms a pact with Jamie Foxx’s Django with the explicit goal of finding and freeing Foxx’s enslaved wife. Indeed, Schulz puts himself in mortal danger specifically to help Django in his quest, thus reversing the relationship of Jim regarding Huck. From a Fiedlerian perspective, the conclusion of Django—in which black man and black woman are reunited over the body of a self-sacrificing white man—can be read as a powerful sign of cultural maturation. Rather than fleeing from “sivilization” and all that in entails (first and foremost marriage), the whole point of the movie is to arrive at that very moment. The works illuminated so well and disturbingly by Fiedler’s “Come Back to the Raft Ag’in, Huck Honey!” literally cannot come to a similar conclusion.
No matter how entertaining or well-executed they might have been, that sort of psychological and archetypal depth was missing from the other best picture nominees at this year’s Oscars.
The Oscar protest that you didn’t know happened
If you watched the Academy Awards tonight, you may have noticed an awkward music cut-off during the Life of Pi Visual Effects acceptance speech. It may have looked like they were just stopping a long running speech, but in truth the speaker was about to mention a hot button topic of the evening, and many people think it was cut short intentionally to hide the truth.
Most viewers were unaware of this incident and most media outlets failed to report on it, but outside the Dolby Theater, there were over 400 picketers protesting the poor state of the visual effects industry. Although it was being ignored on the televised broadcast, it started gaining momentum online during the ceremony, and is finally getting the media attention it was lacking.
So what is the protest about?
The film Life of Pi was nominated for Visual Effects (and won!), but sadly the studio that did the effects for the movie (Rhythm & Hues) had to file for bankruptcy a few weeks ago, and laid off close to 250 employees. The protest was named “A Piece of the Pi” to show that the VFX studio behind the film wasn’t getting their share of its success.
When the nominations for the Academy Awards are announced Thursday, untold millions of people already will have watched some of the leading flicks. But many of them likely didn’t view the motion pictures on a theater’s big screen, even though the movies haven’t been released on DVD or Blu-ray.
That’s because many Blockbusters have leaked to BitTorrent pirate sites, and the likely seeders are academy members.
The academy usually sends out digital or disc screener editions in December to many of its roughly 6,000 voting members. Many of the hot, in-theater-only flicks are now available online and they’re tagged “DVDSCR.”
The development highlights an unspoken irony in the file-sharing world. While the Hollywood studios loudly complain that pirate sites are dooming their businesses and demand Congress do something about it, the top flicks appearing on pirate sites often are seeded by insiders.
It happens year after year, despite screener copies now being loaded with watermarks. To be sure, camcording is also a problem, but the latest blockbuster flicks appearing on the top pirate sites are the real deal.