Sunday December 21, 2014
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By Andrea Peyser
December 15, 2014
Is “Unbroken,’’ the much-anticipated film directed by Angelina Jolie, too unapologetically patriotic for Hollywood’s anti-American sensibilities?
And does the film “American Sniper,’’ directed by Clint Eastwood, delve too deeply into the love of God and country to please the overlords running a movie industry that has grown painfully decadent and politically correct?
Yes! And yes!
Hollywood had an opportunity this year to honor two films that portray values dear to most American hearts and minds. But the nominations announced last week for the Screen Actors Guild Awards and Golden Globes laid bare the prejudice that rules a bizarro world in which nudity and rampant sexuality are promoted at the expense of monogamy and flag-waving.
The first sign that Hollywood had dipped ever lower into the sinkhole of stupidity came when “Unbroken’’ was all but snubbed by the SAG-AFTRA actors union, which will give out the SAG Awards to favored “male actors’’ and “female actors’’ on Jan. 25, 2015. Based on the best-selling 2010 book by Laura Hillenbrand, “Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption,’’ tells the real-life tale of American hero Louis Zamperini, an Olympic runner who, as an Army lieutenant in World War II, was shot down over the Pacific Ocean and survived in a life raft for 47 days, only to be captured and tortured in a Japanese prison-of-war camp. He died this year at age 97.
Rejected for a nod in the category of outstanding performance by a male actor in a leading role was the movie’s star, 24-year-old Jack O’Connell (pictured with Jolie). The film did get one nomination for outstanding action performance by a stunt ensemble. No offense to talented stuntmen and women, but what were award-givers smoking?
Jolie’s direction, the movie as a whole and O’Connell’s acting were also shut out of consideration for the Golden Globes in January. The awards are considered bellwethers for the Oscars. I guess Jolie. 39, won’t need to retrieve her leg-baring gown from the dry cleaner any time soon.
Jolie’s major headlines last week were not about her cinematic labor of love, but about a vile hacked e-mail. In it, producer Scott Rudin, 56, ranted to Sony Pictures co-chair Amy Pascal, also 56, that the “Maleficent’’ star was a “minimally talented spoiled brat’’ from “Crazyland.’’
Also making news was a call by some Japanese nationalists to boycott “Unbroken’’ or ban the work of Jolie from Japanese movie theaters, because her new film could portray this country’s World War II enemies in a bad light. The movie is set to open in the United States on Christmas Day, but as yet has no scheduled release date in Japan.
Helmed by Eastwood, 84, “American Sniper’’ is about former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, who had the largest number of confirmed kills in history, 160, with dozens more suspected. Kyle was shot and killed last year at age 38, along with another man, cops say, by an ex-Marine.
But can Hollywood embrace a movie that lovingly depicts a marksman responsible for the deaths of Iraqis? “Sniper” was passed over for SAG and Globe nominations.
Publicist and author Michael Levne, 60, who has represented 58 Academy Award winners, bemoaned the “disconnect’’ that exists between Tinseltown and Main Street. “Hollywood is one of the least patriotic places in America,’’ he told me.
Hollywood went into a downward spiral when Ben Affleck was denied a Best Director Oscar nomination for 2012’s “Argo,’’ a masterful film set during the Iranian hostage crisis that paints CIA agents as heroic figures and Muslims as villains.
“Argo,’’ won an Oscar for Best Picture awarded by a schizo Academy. Since then, Affleck, 42, now has steered clear of patriotic projects, starring in the misogynistic movie thriller “Gone Girl’’ and getting set to play Batman on the big screen. He won’t make the “Argo’’ mistake again. Nor should anyone who wants to make it in Hollywood.