Politics at the Academy Awards

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Now that a couple of days have passed, I thought I would write briefly about the decision to have Michelle Obama present the Academy Award for Best Picture, and why I thought this was such a distasteful mistake.

I wanted to let some time pass to reflect on the matter.  Michelle Obama is not exactly my favorite public person, and so I wanted to try to prevent my dislike of her from biasing my view of the decision to have her present the award.

It is easy simply to conclude that this is an example of liberal Hollywood bringing its politics into an event where they should not be.  But is that really true?  After all, Ms. Obama is the First Lady for the whole country.  But I think that one must nonetheless conclude that it was quite partisan.

The first question is what justification was there for her to be given this role?  Had any other First Lady ever been given the job before?  Had any politician?  My guess is that the answer is no.

The next question, then, is why give her the role?  Certainly Jack Nicholson would have been an excellent presenter.  He needed no assistance.

The obvious answer is that those in control of the awards liked Michelle Obama (and the Obama White House) and wanted to give her exposure and status.

While there is no law against it and there shouldn’t be, this will obviously be alienating to those who dislike the First Lady.  It is one thing to hear “jokes” at your expense, but it is quite another to have the main event of the evening ruined.

So was there a reason to dislike the Obama presentation aside from political partisanship?  The answer is yes.  The awards should not be turned into a political event — to a kind of Obama campaign rally, if you will.  The Academy Awards should be for everyone.

Of course, liberal politics at the Academy Awards is hardly new.  But it was never so disruptive before.  I shall think long and hard before watching those Awards again.