Screening Liberally Oscars Party

Now that you've recovered from Inaugural plans, we just know you're looking for the next fun-filled event to spice things up. If you're too lazy to brainstorm – or even if you're not - we've got an idea for you!

Host an Oscars Party, complete with:

  • Political film trivia (did you know that Frost/Nixon director Ron Howard directed a call to action video endorsing Obama?)
  • Oscar-themed drinking games (take a swig or a shot every time someone thanks God in an acceptance speech)

and whatever liberal talk you can muster!

We'll post game ideas and trivia; you pick the place and the peeps.

When?
Sunday, February 22nd - awards start at 8pm EST

Where?
You decide! Send your event details to [email protected] and we'll list your event details at the bottom of the page

Why?
The 2008 nominees are very political, You want to share or sharpen your political Hollywood trivia, Why not politicize Hollywood's most political event, Why spend Oscars night alone...

Comment or email us at [email protected] with your trivia, Oscars drink ideas, favorite political films of 2008 and anything else you can think of!

Check back for updates.

Best Picture
Screening Liberally's Jen Johnson's political ranking

(Are these rankings wrong? Right? Left? Feel free to disagree below!)

#5: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Based on about 25 pages in the collected works of F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button tells the story of a man who ages in reverse. The puzzles it invites us to contemplate are deep and imposing, concerning the passage of time, the elusiveness of experience and the Janus-faced nature of love. Yet the film avoids politicizing these issues and ignores such obvious opportunities as the racial turmoil present in the South while a black woman rears him. The film seems untouched by much of anything beyond the mysteries of his peculiar destiny.


#4: The Reader

The Reader begins in 1950s Germany with the strange romance of a teenage boy and young woman and picks up again in 1966 when the boy, now a law student, realizes that his once-lover is on trial for a Nazi war crime that she may not have committed. The Reader is not about guilt itself, but how the law defines, assesses, and punishes guilt. The film touches on morality versus law, the political corruption of a nation between governments and its citizens, the Nazi inter-generational legacy, and a reconsideration of the entire notion of deference to no-matter-what authority.

#3: Slumdog Millionaire
"What the hell can a slumdog possibly know?" The central question of Danny Boyle's film, in which a young man from the slums of India is interrogated for suspicion of cheating on India's "Who Wants to Be A Millionaire." In fact—or in the movie's riotous, luscious fantasy—this slumdog does know the answers. Jamal recalls life-changing events and an array of vivid figures, including an assortment of pimps and thieves, his older brother Salim and the brilliant, if exceedingly beleaguered, love of his life, Latika. While the film highlights the Indian - and global - underclass, weaving through slums, trash heaps, child exploitation, and the tourism industry, it avoids a full response to these issues by identifying Jamal's struggle as a romantic one. And while he becomes an inspiration to other "slumdogs," his story remains exceptional and not inspirational: his success is just luck.


#2: Frost/Nixon

About Robert Frost's televised interview with Richard Nixon three years following his resignation, Frost/Nixon was adapted from Peter Morgan's play. This movie version comes off as an engrossing distillation of the Watergate tragedy. While obviously political, it has been criticized because it works to that "gotcha" moment in which Nixon admits letting down the American people, but omits most of the qualification and justification he gave for lying. Director Ron Howard deserves credit for letting his film's abuse-of-power analogy to the Bush White House emerge very lightly. What's missing, however, is a sense of what was—and is—at stake. While the Frost team waits eagerly for a slip that Frost engineers by deft questioning, an admission that Nixon overstepped or lied, the film treats their anticipation as if they are spectators at a sports. The actual effects of Nixon's administration's corruptions—and they are many and lasting—are reduced to a couple of references to secret war-making and dissembling about reasons for war, as well as statements concerning the importance of making the truth visible, of setting records straight. What the movie misses in this excellent idealism is the politics of the interviews, the changes in today's social and moral landscapes, the collusions of press and administration that are now presumed by cynical consumers, and the demands for superficial patriotism.

#1: Milk
Structured like a confession, Gus Van Sant's Milk is also an homage and a declaration. At its start, Harvey (Sean Penn) sits at a kitchen table reading an autobiographical letter from a yellow legal pad, into a tape recorder. Dated 18 November 1978, it recounts his life just as it is about to end by assassination. The device allows the film to look back and forward, to consider the broad reach of Milk's inspiration and influence. It also grants Milk, in his fictional form at least, a chance to tell his story, apart from the popular and political trappings that have long adorned it. His successful campaign against Prop 6, which called for the firing of gay teachers and their supporters, has since been evoked in ongoing debates over Proposition 8, denying the right of gay couples to marry, which passed on 4 November 2008. In offering such allusions, Milk urges optimism and action, even as it also recalls the loss of its charismatic subject.

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