In the aftermath of the Oscars, New York Times fashion reporter Eric Wilson bizarrely documented an example of "feminine repression" on the red carpet in Monday's arts section. Almost as silly was a Critics' Notebook from the painfully political movie review duo Manohla Dargis and A.O. Scott, who delivered the shocking news that Hollywood movies are less than historically reliable, while comparing Obama to President Lincoln.
Sleeves were in short supply and straps were so unrepresented on dresses at the Oscars on Sunday night that they might as well have been outlawed. But hold the envelope a moment: The verdict on this year’s red carpet is not all that bad. At least it wasn’t the usual monotonous parade of princess dresses.
It was shocking in a way to see fashion like the dress worn by Anne Hathaway. Her last-moment choice was a pale pink dress that appeared to have been styled after a household apron, as potent a symbol of feminine repression as ever there was. Only the dress, made by Miuccia Prada with a loosely tied back, featured a bodice that was intentionally subversive. The seams along the bust were so sexually suggestive that many viewers at home believed they were seeing part of Ms. Hathaway’s anatomy.
Almost as silly was Saturday's Critics' Notebook from the painfully political movie review duo Manohla Dargis and A.O. Scott, who delivered the shocking news that Hollywood movies are less than historically reliable in "Confronting the Fact of Fiction and the Fiction of Fact." On January 20 they argued that the third Transformer movie (yes, the one with the giant robots) was "subliminally anti-Obama" because it attacked the president’s adopted hometown, Chicago. This time they uncovered dubious Obama connections in the Oscar crop.
Movies tend to tell more than one story. “Argo” isn’t just about a thrilling rescue: it is also about two powerful institutions -- the American movie industry and the Central Intelligence Agency -- that are masters of dissembling. “Django Unchained” is about the representation of African-Americans in Hollywood movies and also about one specific black man (Django) who stands for many, including the one with the biggest metaphoric gun in the world: President Obama. Because of the Newtown massacre, “Django” has also become about our culture of violence.
For its part, “Lincoln” isn’t just about how President Lincoln navigated the passage of the 13th Amendment; it is also about President Obama, whose presidency could not be imagined without that amendment. The movie can also be seen as a critique of Mr. Obama’s inability to force the opposition to work with him.