Wednesday, April 16, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Oscars rich in tales of wealthy and poor

By
February 19, 2014 | Leave Comment

NEW YORK — Early in “Captain Phillips,” the cargo ship captain (Tom Hanks) and his wife (Catherine Keener) drive from their Vermont home to the airport where he’ll take a flight to his next job, one that will bring him face-to-face with the less fortunate on the other side of the globe. Like the chatter of so many couples, their conversation turns to their general feeling of economic uncertainty.

“It just seems like the world’s movin’ so fast,” says Phillips, wondering about the future their kids will inherit. “Big wheels are turning.”

This year, many of the Academy Award-nominated films bubble with such undercurrents of worry, navigating the deep waters that separate the haves and the have-nots.

The lavish Oscar ceremony may be one of the highest profile parties of the year for the chosen few, but the theme of inequality is just as visible in the season’s nominees — from the dusty, dying towns of “Nebraska” to the Madoff-like fall-from-grace in “Blue Jasmine.” Tales of con-artists striving to short-cut their way to wealth (“American Hustle,” ”The Wolf of Wall Street”) are joined by stories of detached observers of decadence (“The Great Beauty,” ”The Great Gatsby”).

Of these films, Martin Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street,” with five nominations, including best picture, is the most hotly debated. Though set in the late 1980s and early 1990s, its portrait of stock broker excess has struck a chord with contemporary viewers. But it has polarized moviegoers over whether it glorifies the over-indulgence of Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio).

“What’s the emotion behind making the picture?” says Scorsese. “There’s a lot of anger. I didn’t go hang out in Zuccotti Park, so this is a way of expressing the frustration and also recognizing it. It’s not going to go away if you don’t look at it.”

Since a film typically demands years of work, the movies can take a while to catch up to societal trends. Many of this year’s Oscar candidates were being written or planned as Occupy Wall Street protesters swarmed downtown New York in late 2011, and outrage grew at the expanding distance between the poor and wealthy.

Though some films were initially conceived before such issues were in the headlines, movies can take on the energy of their times during production. Payne’s “Nebraska,” nominated in six categories including best picture, is about an aging working-class man (Bruce Dern) who believes he’s won $1 million from a junk mail sweepstakes.

Payne says his black-and-white film about barren Midwest lives, while “a little comedy,” has a “sub-basement theme of waste and depression and forlornness. … So, yeah, all those elements showed up even more palpably in the film because of the time in which we were making it.”

Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine,” up for three Oscars including best actress for Cate Blanchett, was inspired, Allen has said, by a New York family ruined by the financial collapse. Playing a Manhattan socialite both before and after her husband’s fraud is revealed, Blanchett drew from interviews with Ruth Madoff.

“It wasn’t the monumental, historic fraud that her husband perpetrated,” says Blanchett. “It was the domestic betrayal of the affair that in the end she found most painful and morally repugnant.”

Blanchett’s Jasmine lives a life of fiction as bankrupt as her checking account. In David O. Russell’s “American Hustle” (nominated for 10 Oscars including best picture), nearly everyone is living some kind of fantasy — and hoping to cash in.

“We’re all conning ourselves one way or another, just to get through life,” says Christian Bale’s Irving Rosenfeld as he combs over a hair piece.

There’s also a pervasive theme of simple survival in some of the best films of 2013, from the lost-in-space adventure “Gravity” (10 nominations) to the slave odyssey “12 Years a Slave” (nine nods). In the minimalistic shipwreck drama “All Is Lost” (one nomination), a sailor’s boat is randomly damaged by the detritus of global commerce: a shipping container.

Baz Luhrmann’s “Gatsby” (two nominations) and Italy’s “The Great Beauty” (the foreign-language film favorite) both revel in and recoil at the nightlife of decaying eras: late ’20s New York or modern Rome.

DiCaprio, star of “Gatsby” and “The Wolf of Wall Street,” marvels at history’s redundancy.

“Look at us right now,” he says. “We’ve had this gigantic economic crash but a few years later, here we are and everything’s sort of recalibrated itself and the economy’s booming.”

Yet while period films with contemporary overtones have been lauded by the Academy, many of the most current films were passed over: Harmony Korine’s neon nightmare “Spring Breakers,” Sofia Coppola’s teenage robbery caper “The Bling Ring” and Michael Bay’s beefed-up satire “Pain & Gain.” All depict runaway materialism, warped by delusion and sunshine.

Paul Greengrass’ “Captain Phillips,” up for six awards including best picture, might have easily been just from the perspective of the American hero, says lead Tom Hanks. But the film gives equal attention to the story of the terrorizing Somali pirates, who live in poverty and corruption but alongside a well-trafficked trade route.

“Every ship that goes by has BMWs and tennis shoes and TV sets and peanuts on it,” says Hanks. “So the source of their hopelessness is worthy of some degree of examination and some degree of dramatization.

“It’s not the same movie unless you have that element to it.”

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

 
 
 
Suisun police ID shooting victim

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3, 6 Comments

 
Solano Jews gather for start of Passover

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
 
County discusses consolidated dispatch

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A4

 
Miner Slough Bridge to see repairs

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A4

 
‘Heaven is for Real’ opens Wednesday

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B5

 
Fiesta Days pageant organizers seek contestants

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5

 
Easter hunt set for Mare Island

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A5

 
Crews make quick work of vehicle fire

By Glen Faison | From Page: A6, 6 Comments | Gallery

 
Paper Clover Campaign supports Solano County 4-H

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A6

Coakley joins Solano fair board

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A6

 
Hundreds flock to Krispy Kreme as it opens doors

By Susan Winlow | From Page: B9, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
County to honor Solano educators

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A14, 1 Comment

.

US / World

Officials: Huge San Francisco blaze was accidental

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
‘Shrimp Boy’ pleads not guilty in corruption case

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

Solemn tributes mark Boston Marathon bombing

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Immigration activists urge Obama to act boldly

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11, 1 Comment

Supremacist faces murder charges in Kansas deaths

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Ukraine: Military secures airport from attack

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Democrats have outside money advantage – for now

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14, 3 Comments

 
First women move into Army platoon artillery jobs

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Final deadline arrives for health exchange sign-up

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14, 1 Comment

 
New LA newspaper embraces print in digital world

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Congress is giving states the transportation blues

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14, 2 Comments

 
Police: Suspects in killings wore GPS devices

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14, 1 Comment

DNA alternative to Pap smear sparks medical debate

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Robot sub returns to water after 1st try cut short

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Hamas praises deadly West Bank shooting

By The Associated Press | From Page: A15

 
2 dead after ferry sinks off SKorean coast

By The Associated Press | From Page: A15

.

Opinion

 
Oh, for the days of Dr. Welby

By Dan K. Thomasson | From Page: A13, 13 Comments

Poor Judgement in Flight 370 column

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A13, 1 Comment

 
Senseless babble that hurts

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A13, 2 Comments

 
Expand Red Top Road

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A13, 2 Comments

Editorial cartoons for April 16, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A13

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: April 16, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
What love gives you

By Barton Goldsmith | From Page: A2

Today in History for April 16, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
A matzo ball soup fit for a weeknight dinner

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Saving carrots from their usual sugary Easter fate

By Sara Moulton | From Page: B6

 
Sweet pairings for grown-up Easter treats

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

My husband still pays his 45-year-old unemployed son’s bills

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B7

 
Horoscopes for April 16, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B7

.

Entertainment

Boston Globe wins Pulitzer for bombing coverage

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Lindsay Lohan’s mom pleads guilty to DWI in NY

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

Strahan’s ‘GMA’ side job confirmed with his visit

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

.

Sports

Cal hires Tennessee’s Cuonzo Martin as coach

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Warriors trying to move on without Andrew Bogut

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Sharks’ Torres uncertain for playoff opener

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Indians shut out Mustangs

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1, 1 Comment | Gallery

Ex-Minnesota State, Mankato coach returning to job

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Panthers jump Sabres to win NHL draft lottery

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

More former players sue NHL regarding concussions

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
49ers sign WR Brandon Lloyd to 1-year deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

MLB marks 67th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s debut

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
.

Business

Twitter buys data analytics partner Gnip

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Yellen signals more aggressive stance toward banks

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

.

Obituaries

Carolyn McClelland

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Evonne Medina

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

.

Comics

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7