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Hooray for Hollywood!

Jeff Hall

Posted on February 25, 2019 12:29

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Is there anything really so wrong about giving an Oscar to a movie people actually LIKE?

As we all know by now, "Green Book" took the Oscar for best picture. 

I was very pleased with this choice, as I really liked the movie. 

It made me feel good at a time when there is so much to feel bad about.

We saw that a black man and a white man could grow to genuinely appreciate each other -- and be protective of one another. 

If two people can do it, maybe more of us can. 

The movie takes place in 1962.  I was coming of age at that time (I was 11); the attitudes and language used in the movie rang true to me. 

Congressman John Lewis, a far better witness to our country's racial history than I, said, “I can bear witness that the portrait of that time and place in our history is very real. It is seared in my memory.  Our nation bears the scars of that time, as do I.”

 

We enjoyed a "pick the winners" contest and had to submit our picks before the Oscars began.  Marsha Bartenetti, right, explains how the scoring will work.

We've clearly come a long way since 1962.  We haven't come as far as we all know we need to get -- and there has been slippage along the way -- but progress is progress.

But many critics now seem unhappy with the choice of Green Book as best picture. 

One writer in my hometown LA Times, Justin Chang, goes on and on about how terrible this movie is, how it somehow doesn't move us forward in terms of race relations, that other movies did it better. 

I am reminded of film critic Kenneth Turan, also of The Times, who years ago blasted "Titanic" for being so trite.  

Is it really so awful to produce movies people can readily understand and actually like? 

I thought the people Academy were smart to add a category for "most popular" or whatever it was -- but they buckled under pressure from those who are more into "artistic" movies that insist on employing "castor oil treatment." 

I think simply being entertained is perfectly legitimate -- and if the entertainment comes wrapped in a feel-good message, all the better.  It goes down more smoothly.

Anyway, I live in L.A., a company town.  Movies are to LA what cars are to Detroit and government is to D.C. 

We throw big Oscar parties in L.A.  My wife and I were invited to one at the home of Marsha and Phil Bartenetti. 

All the dishes served had some tie to one of the night's popular movies -- yes, there were chicken wings -- and it was all great. 

We were all given ballots to fill in, making our choices for all the different categories. 

As we all did back in third grade, we graded each other's papers.

Phil Bartenetti, right, awards the winners who got the most answers right.

My pick for best picture?  Green Book, of course. 

If you haven't seen it, I hope you will. 

Jeff Hall

Posted on February 25, 2019 12:29

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Source: NPR
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NPR's Ari Shapiro talks to film and television critic Rebecca Theodore-Vachon about the controversy over Green Book's Oscar...

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