It’s unfortunate that this title is not from The Onion (which itself had some issues relating to its Oscar coverage). The symbolism of the First Lady presenting, from the White House, surrounded by folks in military dress, the Academy Award for best picture to a film that demonizes Iranians and victimizes Americans is striking. Now it’s obvious that the White House did not pick, or have any role in choosing the Best Picture, and had it gone to a film without a “CIA narrative” then perhaps this wouldn’t be a noteworthy point.
The Guardian makes an argument that the failure of Zero Dark Thirty to win notoriety at the award ceremony was a failure for the CIA in a sense. While it may indeed be the case that the CIA, and related pro-military folks wanted to see Zero win to help ease the narrative over torture: Argo‘s win comes in the context of a potential future conflict. The real tragedy here is not which of these two essentially pro-imperialist films represents the interests of executive power better in the United States through the film industry, but rather the fact that the two represented serious contenders for the “Best Picture of the Year” title in the first place. This represents the current relationship between Hollywood and militarism in the United States, and that relationship appears quite cozy if this award ceremony is any indication.
While it may indeed just be symbolism, we should pay more attention and criticize more often these exhibitions that promote culture that serves the function of putting yet another country in the cross hairs of American aggression.