Todd VanDerWerff, culture editor at Vox, helps explain how a bland film could win the prize.
If Common and John Legend win an Academy Award for Best Original Song this Sunday, it will be only the 32nd time in 87 years that a black person has held a competitive Oscar on Hollywood's biggest stage. That's 32 times out of more than 2,900 winners. This year's Oscar nominees in the four acting categories, the least diverse group of contenders since 1998.
[I wish those who complain about 'Muslim silence' would go see this film,] both because “Timbuktu” vividly depicts the courageous resistance of ordinary Muslims, especially Muslim women, to fundamentalist tyranny and because it makes the crucial but heretical point that Islamic militants are also human beings, and more likely to be driven by human motivations like greed or lust or power than by apocalyptic zealotry.
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National Security Archive
Formerly top secret records that provide new details about the "Campaign of the NO" in Chile–the dynamic political movement that eventually led to Pinochet's loss of the presidency. Like "Zero Dark Thirty," "Argo" and "Lincoln," which also examine historical events, "NO" has been criticized for misrepresenting, and omitting, key elements of the history it depicts. Genaro Arriagada, who directed the actual Campaign of the NO in Chile, called the movie a "caricature."