Jewish World Review March 10, 2006 / 10 Adar, 5766

Michael Medved

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Some reasons to celebrate the Oscars | The Oscar broadcast of March fifth brought a series of unexpectedly pleasant surprises for cultural conservatives. First, the shocking victory for "Crash" as Best Picture   —   over the heavy favorite, "Brokeback Mountain"   —   showed that even in liberal Hollywood, there's a growing backlash against the relentless promotion of homosexuality.

Some prominent commentators, including Kenneth Turan in the LA Times, suggested that Academy voters had been motivated by raw prejudice to deny the award to "Brokeback Mountain." Nikki Fink of LA Weekly declared that the Hollywood establishment now looked as "homophobic" as Pat Robertson and the dreaded religious right, but the truth is you don't have to be conservative to feel weary of the ceaseless, one-sided glorification of same sex relationships.

When Newsweek magazine went so far as to describe the love between two fictional  —  and married  —  gay cowboys as "sacred" and "pure" it was easy to understand why members of the Academy succumbed to "Brokeback fatigue." They voted instead for a beautifully crafted movie about racism and alienation, "Crash," with a less preachy agenda than the campaign behind "Brokeback Mountain."

Second, all movie-lovers should feel grateful to Oscar host Jon Stewart, who not only scrupulously avoided cheap shots against President Bush and the Republicans, but scored some hilarious points against Hollywood's pompous liberals.

In his opening monologue, for instance, he mentioned that the Academy Awards represented a one-time chance to rub shoulders with so many first rank celebrities "without making a donation to the Democratic Party."

Unlike previous Oscar shows, neither Stewart nor any of the presenters or award recipients used their moments at the podium to make partisan, left wing remarks.

Finally, decent people in the entertainment industry felt relieved when "Paradise Now," the universally predicted winner for Best Foreign Language Film  —  and prior winner of a Golden Globe Award  —  lost to "Tsotsi," an South African film about a brutal gangster redeemed by contact with a helpless infant he has unwittingly car-jacked. The expected victory for "Paradise Now," a Palestinian film that viciously slanders Israel and shows suicide bombers in a sympathetic light, would have provided new legitimacy for Hamas and its terrorist ideology.

This year's encouraging Oscar developments don't spell an end to Hollywood's notorious leftwing bias  —  but they do suggest that leaders of the entertainment elite have begun to get the message that outspoken radical political posturing helps contribute to sharply reduced attendance for feature films.

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Right Turns: Unconventional Lessons from a Controversial Life  

Michael Medved has taken an extraordinary journey from liberal activist to outspoken conservative. Along the way he has earned millions of admirers — and more than his share of enemies — by advancing controversial, often counterintuitive arguments. Sales help fund JWR.

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