At The New Yorker, Susannah Griffee writes:
While many Academy Award-winning movies have political undertones, only one film with politics as its primary subject, “All the King’s Men,” has ever taken home the Best Picture trophy. In many cases, it seems, political movies got past the nominating convention, but just couldn’t win the election.
That's Broderick Crawford in his prime. Griffee goes on to touch on a few well-known films about politics, but pretty misses the mark by what she leaves out. It's certainly true that political films don't often make the Oscar cut. Indeed, sometimes, based on the Academy's choices, you'd hardly know any were being made, although George Clooney picked up an Oscar seven years ago for Syriana and Senn Penn and Dustin Lance Black each took one home for Milk in 2008.
Sixty years after McCarthyism devastated the ranks of some of the best Hollywood had to offer, it's hardly a surprise that explicitly political movies don't get made all that often, and when they do, they frequently are botch jobs. Mississippi Burning comes to mind. On the other hand, films with less explicitly political messages are fairly common, an example being Glory, for which Denzel Washington won an Oscar.
I would never, of course, try to outguess the Academy. The crème de celebrité have their reasons and their biases. Depending on your point of view, those reasons are worth exploring in depth or ignoring altogether, but whatever the case, I'm not going there tonight. Instead, here's a short list of political films you might have missed in 2011. Needless to say, not all of them made it to the big screen.
Got some of your own to let everyone know about?
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2008:
As we get ready for tonight's debate, there's one story left over from the last debate that's still slogging through the lonely sludge of conservative blogs. During the last face to face with Clinton, Obama told of how an army captain had talked to him about severe shortages faced by American forces in Afghanistan. This captain told how his platoon was short of both men and supplies, and was forced to use captured materials to get by.
Since the Right Wing sites are capable of producing more instant experts than you can get from a bag of educated sea monkeys, they immediately began deriding Obama, claiming that he had made up the story. Didn't he know that platoons weren't commanded by captains? Didn't he know that our forces in Afghanistan have like six zillion bullets each? Most of all, didn't he know that the trillions we're pouring into Iraq has nothing, hear that, nothing to do with any possible shortages in Afghanistan.
You even had the spectacle of the former Republican chair of the Armed Services Committee, John Warner, demanding that Obama produce the captain in question. And then Obama... well, produced the captain, who confirmed everything Senator Obama had said. Which left Warner sputtering that he'd never heard of these issues, even though they occurred primarily on his watch as Armed Services chair.
Did confirmation of the story mollify the right wing bloggers? Hey, since when have facts stood in their way? [...]