Friday, February 15, 2013

History at the Oscars

The world is buzzing with excitement as Oscar night approaches. Will you tune in to watch the Academy Awards? Today's blog post is from ABC-CLIO's Pop Culture Universe feature story highlighting how History has influenced this year's crop of nominated films.

This year's best picture nominations have an interesting trend. Of the nine nominees, four have narratives strongly driven by American history, three of which are heavily focused on real-life events. Argo, directed by Ben Affleck, is based on the escape of six American embassy employees during the Iran hostage crisis in 1979. Steven Spielberg's film, Lincoln, is a biopic that focuses on the last months of President Abraham Lincoln's life as he sought the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment. Another film that deals with slavery was nominated for Best Picture—Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained. Tarantino's historical revenge film is set in the South only two years before the Civil War and follows the freed slave Django (played by Jamie Foxx) as he seeks to free his enslaved wife. Kathryn Bigelow's film, Zero Dark Thirty, is based on the manhunt for Osama bin Laden.

A large amount of past Academy Award Best Picture nominees have also been based on true stories, which begs the question: do movies based on real-life events make better films?

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