Today Queen Elizabeth named Angelina Jolie an honorary dame in honor of her work fighting sexual violence and…uhm, for services to Britain’s foreign policy, whatever that actually means. My first thought when I saw photos of the two was “what a formidable, go-getter person Jolie is…seriously. So socially conscious, so talented, so industrious, so rich, so many kids. You just want to get down on your knees, y’know? (Hollywood Elsewhere is already down on its knees, hoping for a substantial Universal award-season buy.) But right now Hollywood is asking itself “what can we and our lowly American culture do to add to the Jolie acclaim in a substantial way? Let’s see…of course! Let’s give her an Oscar for Best Director as a way of honoring Unbroken, which the mainstream default softies want to celebrate anyway with a Best Picture Oscar because…well, because they do. Because the saga of an Olympic athlete who meets Hitler in 1936 and goes on to survive not one but two agonizing World War II traumas has that elemental schwing that says “Oscar! Oscar! Deserves an Oscar!”
Wells to Universal Marketing: Please don’t stiff me for writing pieces like this. The Queen tribute thing honestly feels like it was somehow arranged to put a glow around Jolie and to favor Unbroken. I don’t have a takedown attitude about Jolie’s film…I really don’t. I just don’t like all the easy-lay types tumbling for it sight unseen. On top of which I just don’t see a great mythical story in the fact that a guy survived a terrible ordeal…but I could possibly be persuaded otherwise once I see the film. Really. I respect quality. Always have.