The Oscars are here again, and for us baby boomers, it is a time to reflect on the changes in the entertainment industry. The stars, the dresses, the jewelry, and of course the movies, give pause as to how far we have come in 50 years. When we were children and young adults, it seemed a fantasy to watch the rich and famous arrive in all of their finery to receive their accolades. Now, as mature adults, the glamour seems to have faded and reality has set in: this is a money-making machine called Hollywood that cranks out great and sometimes mediocre films designed to attract the young and old alike.
That said, the interesting thing about this year's best-picture nominees are that three of them are history-based vehicles that chronicle significant events in our history. Lincoln does a fine job of displaying not only Daniel Day-Lewis' genius acting skills, but also gives us a pretty accurate picture of the kinds of compromises Lincoln was willing to make in order to ensure the end of slavery. Maybe some of our senators and representatives need to take a page from Lincoln's book and learn how to work together.
In Argo, Ben Affleck manages to re-create the Iran hostage rescue, with some altered and heightened details for special effects. The movie is also a tribute to the screen industry because the rescue team creates a scenario to pose as a film crew wanting access to Iran to film their latest film.
In Zero Dark Thirty, Osama Bin Laden's demise is pictured using some details that heighten the intensity of the movie, but are a little sketchy in their true depiction of the actual events. Even the fourth nominee, Django Unchained is based loosely on the plight of the slaves during the Civil War. It's good to know that we are a nation that is drawing on our history to create dazzling spectacles full of history, even if the events are a little exaggerated for the story's enhanced enjoyment. If one person is somewhat educated to our plights in the past, then it is worth it.
Many of us baby boomers will watch the Oscars tonight well aware of how much our culture and story-telling of it has changed. Others will simply remember the dresses, the glitz, the stars, and their speeches. Whatever the choice, it is always a special event, and there's a good chance that if it isn't too drawn out for hours, it may be the best one yet. Let's hope so.