Hardball | February 25, 2013
>>> election is the best mood ring in the country, the academy awards are a close second. perhaps the biggest surprise at last night's oscars was when first lady michelle obama joined the ceremony via satellite from the to announce " argo " had won best picture .
>> and now for the moment we have all been waiting for. and the oscar goes to " argo ."
>> i was here 15 years ago or something, and, you know, i had no idea what i was doing. i stood out here in front of you all really just a kid, and i went out, you know, and i never thought that i would be back here, and i am, and it doesn't matter how you get knocked down in life because that's going to happen. all that matters is that you got to get up. i love you. this is for you.
>> i think " argo " won last night because it reflects the mood of the country. it's about a successful nonviolent multinational effort to get people out of iran and other places we ought not to be and it's about america winning for example and for once. here to discuss the politics of the oscars , alex wagner and ann hornaday. thank you for joining us, ann . you're the expert. every time when i think about it a decade, i try to think about what was going on at the time. the south in the late '30s was sort of vaguely english to make the english look good. the 1950s movies about biblical times and the way we treated slaves. it's really about the way we treat black people in america in those days. it's always about the present. i think " argo " is about the need of the country to win one of these damn things overseas for once.
>> i think that's a point very well taken. movies are always allegories. we've talked about this before, too. this is an amazing year for washington process being the star of these movies. we had " argo ." we had " lincoln " and " zero dark thirty " all of which really lifted the veil on these processes and in the case of " lincoln " a process we're mired in in a disfunkal way showing them working. what's different with last year's movies is there was this lack of cynicism in all of them. even though they were tough. " zero dark thirty " is a tough movie, but it is not a cynical film. and i think that's what really sets these apart.
>> i was thinking, alex , "recount" came ou t, the first time i said to people, you know what government looks like? that's what it is like. it is messy. al gore 's side takes one. we'll count those three-counties. the other guys count other counties. it's the games behind the scenes that is democracy in action.
>> one of the things about " argo " offered audiences is a conclusion. it's been so long since we've had any sort of clear cut foreign policy win. and that was a messy situation. eight servicemen died and ended jimmy carter 's presidency or re-election bid and presented this this package. it is a clear feel good movie. "zero dark 30" is an incredibly gray movie. and i think it left people either angry that the questions weren't answered thoor there wasn't more of a clear cut viewpoint on torture. and even " lincoln " was, i think, a feel good movie because it sort of showed america coming together to end slavery and close a very ugly, bloody chapter in our nation's history. at the same time, you know, speaks of dysfunction in washington which makes us all a little queasy.
>> you know what i liked about last night? i liked seth mcfarland . he was respectful in his own irrespectful way. i don't know. he was a wise guy . he said things he shouldn't have said about getting into lincoln 's head and terrible lines. i get the sense he set it up so you could have shirley bassy come back and give that wonderful rendition of "gold finger." it's just great stuff. and then to have barbara streisand sing for the guy she loved, cared so much about, marvin hamlin who i got to know as well. i thought there was some great stuff. i think the " les mis " production number was great. it was old school.
>> i take your point. i love the shirley bassy moment. i loved the set. it did have that old school glamour that opening number which channing tatum and shar charlize theron . i think at some points it looked like they were trying to be the tony's or win a tony. i always think it's sad when people win an award and might even be the one and only time up on that stage and they -- their acceptance speech gets cut off because they need to have room for yet another production number. i do think that sometimes we lose sight of what this means to the people who are actually there. but i do take your point. i think that it's always nice to have a good old fashioned song and dance man in that position.
>> i think the guy is great. let me ask you about the obamas. bill clinton was involved with the golden globes . i think it's the bicoastal america . if you look at a map of this country, it's clear the way it works. you got new york and the new england states and northeast and then around michigan it stops, you know? or illinois. and then you have this vast amount of country and then l.a. and then san francisco . and here it seems to me another one of the marriages of the bicoastal, east coast against the west coast . republicans don't do this.
>> chris, there are two things. one, could laura bush do it? no. she wouldn't have been greeted with the same amount of warmth. the first lady's message is about american entrepreneurism and children believing their dreams. it's what we can do when we believe in ourselves and believe in love. that is a benign first lady message, but, chris, in terms of a map, there are a lot of states in the middle of the country that the obamas are putting in play whether that's the southwest, the middle west . i mean we're not talking just a bicoastal marriage.
>> i think you're fighting my point but maybe you're right. let me get back to you, ann . this cultural connection between left coast and kras democrademocrats, it's getting pronounced. come on, jack nicholson , the irreverant hollywood guy.
>> i thought it was shocking, actually. i just wrote a story that day about the degree to which the campaigning that the studios were doing for the oscars was overlapping with political gamesmanship in washington .
>> who got that get?
>> it was harvey weinstein .
>> he pulled her in.
>> i wish, you know, if i had a wish for that moment, i think i really -- especially in the light of newtown and the discussions we're having about gun violence and the media , i think she's in the prime position to be a leader on media literacy . and she did come out for arts education . i think even to make it more pointed in terms of media literacy and the importance of that, that would have been a perfect podium. i hope if she continues in this vain.
>> all right, ann hornaday, you are always right. thank you, alex , you're sometimes right as well. we'll be right back.