A big part of ministry and leadership is being able to analyze and engage culture. Few things shape culture more than film, and last night’s Academy Awards was an insightful place to observe some cultural realities.
I watched the entire broadcast and here’s what I noticed:
1. God has gifted people with a remarkable diversity of strong creative gifts.
It was amazing to see all the creative folks who work on sound, cinematography, and digital creation, not to mention the directors and actors. Each of these people are so creative and offer our culture the blessings of beauty, stories, and adventure.
2. Nobody acknowledged God.
Most times during awards shows somebody will thank God during an acceptance speech. Not this year. This doesn’t necessarily mean that people do not have personal faith in God, but nobody said so.
3. Hollywood is dominated by white people.
I was surprised at the lack of ethnic diversity of people on stage and nominated for awards. Almost all of the producers and technical people were caucasian (even if European), and even most of the actors were also white.
4. Increasingly, anything goes.
Seth MacFarlane was not my favorite choice for host, and he showed why. The “Boobs” number was highly inappropriate and uncomfortable, especially with my 6 and 4 year-old daughters in the room. Many other off-color jokes followed. Definitely not a family friendly move, and MacFarlane has been drawing wider criticism for his approach.
5. The Presidency has become more about celebrity than governing.
What a surprise (but not really) to see Michelle Obama announce Best Picture. While it’s hard to imagine Ann Romney or Laura Bush being asked to play this role, it seems to fit with Obama’s approach to the Presidency. Though he is terribly ineffective as a leader (even to accomplish his own agenda), he remains a very popular celebrity.