If an extraterrestrial landed on Earth, “Argo,” “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” “Django Unchained,” “Lincoln,” “Silver Linings Playbook” and “Zero Dark Thirty” each would be an excellent introduction to the American character. In the aggregate, they make up a composite portrait of the country.
In the beginning it was called the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and/or Sciences. While its ostensible purpose was management-approved mediation, its implicit goal was to pre-empt actors, writers and directors from organizing, as carpenters, musicians and electricians had done in 1926. Statuettes were an afterthought.
Here’s a thought exercise: In a nation where 33 percent of the Supreme Court justices are women, 17 percent of the seats in the Senate and House are held by women and 12 percent of the statehouses have female governors, what accounts for the fact that only 5 percent of movie directors in 2011 are female?
Do we learn anything about Margaret Thatcher from Abi Morgan’s screenplay? And more important, will anyone born after Thatcher’s 11 years in office learn anything about her brand of conservatism and its effects?
Posted on Jan 14, 2012
Carrie Rickey Morgan R. Levy
Carrie Rickey has been a film critic at The Philadelphia Inquirer and Village Voice and an art critic at Artforum and Art in America.