The annual Academy Awards ceremony, to be held this year on March 5, is always an opportunity for Hollywood celebs to congratulate themselves for being, well, celebrities. But at least in years past they honored movies people had actually enjoyed, such as Titanic. This year, the spotlight will be on “controversial” movies that were proven uncontroversial by our lack of interest in them.
Not that our boredom has slowed down the hype machine. “With the exception of Capote, the nominations for Best Picture (Brokeback Mountain, Crash, Good Night, and Good Luck, Munich) can be seen as, oooh, risky,” David Edelstein of New York magazine wrote on Feb. 27. But are they, really “risky”?
Let’s look at the likely “Best Picture” winner, Brokeback Mountain. It’s the gripping tale of a pair of gay shepherds, doing what they do up on a mountain. Stars Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal are hailed for their “groundbreaking” performances. But if either man wants to play a really groundbreaking role, he should play a Danish cartoonist who has drawn pictures of the prophet Mohammad. Do that and he just might find himself breaking ground, literally.
As recently as a week ago, 25,000 Muslims rallied in Pakistan to protest the cartoons. Some chanted, “Punishment for insulting the prophet is death.” They mean that, as Hitoshi Igarashi found out. He’s the man who translated Salman Rushdie’s book “The Satanic Verses” into Japanese. He was murdered in 1991.
Here’s what Hollywood’s missing: There’s real evil in the world, and a real struggle against it. It’s a war we must win, but there are no guarantees, especially since our enemies are making inroads.
Take the recent election victory in the Palestinian territories by the Islamic terrorist group Hamas. Its charter reads, “The purpose of Hamas is to create an Islamic Palestinian state throughout Israel by eliminating the state of Israel through violent jihad.” Well, that’s pretty clear.
With Hamas preparing to take power, Israel took the sensible step of suspending its monthly payments to the Palestinians of tax money Israel collects on its behalf. That seems reasonable: Why should Israelis be required to fund an organization that’s dedicated to their country’s destruction?
At the same time, Iran’s government is enriching uranium, a critical step toward building a nuclear weapon. Iran’s president has also promised to wipe Israel off the map, so we now have a new arms race: Will Iran succeed in nuking Israel before Hamas can eliminate it?