In their post-Oscar coverage on Monday, Washington Post writers suggested that Hollywood's celebration of dark movies with dark characters has a political genesis, that it came from moviemakers depressed over the Bush re-election, Iraq, and global warming. In his front-page piece, reporter Hank Stuever theorized:
But these were dark movies -- the feel-bad films of the year -- conjured up in what movie people seem to collectively sense as grave times, hatched in producers' offices and on writers' laptops not long after the 2004 election and amid increasing setbacks in the Iraq war and gloomy environmental warnings. Some of the filmmakers and actors wore orange ribbons or rubber bracelets to protest alleged incidents of torture by the United States at its prison in Guantanamo Bay, and in Afghanistan and Iraq -- the subject of "Taxi to the Dark Side," which won Best Documentary Feature.
When not offering a surfeit of death and gloom, Academy nominees this year focused, in at least some metaphorical way, on all the looming issues:
Lovers died in a time of war; the thirst for oil took precedence over humanity; greedy corporate types stooped lower than low; a killer roamed the desolate U.S.-Mexican borderland.
In the Style section, reporter William Booth touched on the "dollop of politics" in the Oscar festivities, noting documentary winner Alex Gibney's hope that America would lurch left: "Let's hope we can turn this country around and move from the dark side to the light." More Bush as Darth Vader. The hot fashion accessory was apparently orange ribbons and bracelets in solidarity with terrorist suspects in Guantanamo:
Out on the red carpet, Paul Haggis (the director whose "Crash" won Best Picture in 2006) said he didn't know what accounts for all these deeply dark, brooding, troubled films. But isn't it obvious, he asked, flashing an orange ribbon on his lapel. Orange, why orange? "It's Guantanamo," his Max Azria-clad wife, Deborah, said, showing off her orange bracelet, which read: "Silence + torture = complicity." Suddenly, we noticed -- orange ribbons and bracelets everywhere.
You'd have to guess there weren't too many "24" fans in that gathering.