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Why Oscar Snubbed Angelina Jolie's 'Unbroken'

Investor's Business Daily, February 20, 2015

Forget the brouhaha over "Selma." Or whether "Birdman" really soars. In snubbing Angelina Jolie's "Unbroken" the riveting red-white-and-blue tale of the Greatest Generation's Captain America: Louis Zamperini Oscar has disproved Samuel Johnson:

Hollywood, not patriotism, is the last refuge of a scoundrel. And there are scoundrels aplenty in Tinseltown.

Other than for cinematography, film editing and sound mixing, "Unbroken" did not garner any award nominations. And Mrs. Brad Pitt was persona non grata for the best director nod.

All Angelina did was to make Laura Hillenbrand's bestselling biography of Louis Zamperini come to vivid life on the silver screen. Under her astute and nuanced direction, British actor Jack O'Connell captured Zamperini's Italian wit, grit and grace under fire.

In only her second directing go-round, Jolie turned in a tour de force, evoking Frank Capra, John Ford and Steven Spielberg at their cinematic best. And ultimately, the film resonated with audiences, earning $115,129,195 at the box office domestically (and $159,929,195 worldwide).

But Angelina's forthright depiction of a gutsy Italian-American Olympian turned bombardier, which struck a balance between can-do American derring-do and the dehumanizing savagery of war, may have soured liberals on "Unbroken."

Zamperini also served his nation when more than 600,000 Italian-Americans had been classified as "enemy aliens" under FDR's Executive Order 9066. (Many were persecuted, interned and lost their civil liberties.) There's also possible squeamishness over Takamasa Ishihara's visceral depiction of Sgt. Mutsuhiro Watanabe, Zamperini's savage Japanese torturer.

Yet Oscar harbors a specific ethnic antipathy that worked against "Unbroken." Though the left applauded Clint Eastwood's "American Sniper," Hollywood's hypocrites cannot abide a real-life Italo-American hero on the big screen. (Ironically, "Sniper's" Bradley Cooper shares Zamperini's Italian ancestry.)

Central Casting prefers fictional criminal cretins such as Don Vito Corleone and Tony Soprano over Italian-American warriors like Zamperini who saved the world.

Rosario Iaconis
Italic Institute of America

 
 

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