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The Oscars

2011 February 1
by smonani

Two environmentally themed documentaries, Gasland, produced for HBO by Josh Fox, and Wasteland, directed by Lucy Walker have been nominated for this year’s Academy Awards. Gasland explores the natural gas drilling industry’s fracking practices, and Wasteland is a film about Rio de Janeiro’s trash pickers.

Though the Oscar’s fictional film line-up might not immediately denote environmental themes, there’s probably plenty of environmental grist in The Social Network, True Grit, and Winter’s Bone. Do post thoughts and comments on these and other potential nominations.

5 Responses leave one →
  1. Elena permalink
    February 8, 2011

    There’s an animated short titled “Let’s Pollute” by Geefwee Boedoe that satirizes our consumption practices (“in the style of 50s and 60s educational films”) that’s been nominated for an Oscar. It’s 6.5 minutes long. Boedoe’s website has a collection of beautiful (and often dystopic) “environments” that he’s created, and that illustrate for me the relationship between an animator and animated spaces:

    • smonani permalink
      February 9, 2011

      Thanks for the citation, Elena: these are neat animations and as you say the site provides a good sense of animator and animation.

  2. Steve Rust permalink*
    February 10, 2011

    Since have finally had the chance to see THE SOCIAL NETWORK, I felt compelled to comment —- Did I miss the environmental themes? And more importantly, will David Fincher’s misogyny never end. If this film supposedly captures the spirit of a generation then I weep for the backward momentum of feminism. The film flatly fails the “Bechdel Test”. To pass the test a movie must have the following:

    1) there must be at least two named female characters, who

    2) talk to each other about

    3) something other than a man.

    Given Fincher’s track record, there’s no reasonable argument that he was merely trying to capture the perspective of the Zuckerberg & co. There is a pattern of misogeny that runs deep in his work – from Duran Duran videos and Alien 3 through Fight Club and The Social Network. If this film wins the Oscar for Best Picture it’ll be a big step backward for the Academy after Katherine Bigelow’s win.

    Still not convinced, check out this blog entry by a screenwriter who explains that her film professors at UCLA taught her that she’d never be successful unless her scrips failed the Bechdel test because, “I had to understand that the audience only wanted white, straight, male leads. I was assured that as long as I made the white, straight men in my scripts prominent, I could still offer groundbreaking characters of other descriptions (fascinating, significant women, men of color, etc.) – as long as they didn’t distract the audience from the white men they really paid their money to see.” More at:

    • Salma permalink*
      February 11, 2011

      Steve, haven’t seen The Social Network as yet so was stating “*probably* plenty of environmental grist,” assuming the film engages technology-human interactions. Your review seems to suggest it doesn’t come close to having any noticeable themes; or at any rate, whatever themes it might have are completely obscured by regressive anti-feminism. Now, do I watch the film myself and grit my teeth as I do so; or do I procrastinate on watching it even more?

  3. Steve Rust permalink*
    February 11, 2011

    Definitely themes of media ecology but nothing overtly environmental. It’s a beautifully shot and edited film and the acting is excellent. I just felt the need to rail against its portrayal of college women.

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