So what do perch, penguins, Pocahontas, and Participant Productions have in common (other than alliteration)? Oscar.
This Sunday night, the 78th Annual Academy Awards will feature a bevy of nominated films with environmental themes — from pesky perch to egotistic energy execs to badgered, um, badgers.
If you couldn’t care less about the movies and you’re more into people watching, check out this week’s Grist List to see what eco-swag green celebs will be receiving.
For the rest of you, the nominees are …
Darwin’s Nightmare (Best Documentary Feature)
Take one African lake, add some predatory Nile perch, and what do you get? Ecological disaster.
March of the Penguins (Best Documentary Feature)
As Emily Gertz wrote in her review:
In Penguins, director Luc Jacquet and his team spent more than a year trundling through the blizzards, ice, and severe temperatures of Antarctica with cumbersome cameras. They emerged with what might be the year’s most beautiful film. Jacquet spins a moral fable of love, loyalty, and bravery out of the mating habits of emperor penguins; even though it’s nonfiction, it’s squarely in the tradition of uplifting critters-as-people stories like Watership Down or The Incredible Journey.
Hmmm, a beautiful love story versus some nasty Nile fish? I know where my betting money is going.
Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (Best Documentary Feature)
An alternate title for the movie could have been, Enron: Why the U.S. Needs to Embrace Decentralized Energy Grids.
Syriana (Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role & Original Screenplay)
Partipant Productions’ Syriana was heralded by environmentalists. However, as Dave points out in his review:
Grist readers will no doubt be curious about the environmental lessons of the movie. They may be disappointed to hear that there aren’t any, at least in the traditional sense. There is no mention, even in passing, of global warming or air pollution.
I don’t know if this is deliberate, but regardless, it serves as an indirect illustration of what I took to be Syriana‘s central message, which might be summarized thusly:
There is only the fight for resources.
North Country (Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role & Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role)
While the main story is about sexual harrassment and a mother-son relationship, through North Country Participant Productions exposes viewers to the ugly and health-ravaging world of mining.
The New World (Achievement in Cinematography)
Europeans hop in a boat, sail to the new world, chop down trees, piss in the water, kill the indigenous people, [spoiler!] send Pocahontas to London to die … [couple centuries pass] … global warming.
Brokeback Mountain (Best Motion Picture of the Year & just about every other category under the sun)
Two young cowboys in the 1960s develop a strong bond that turns to love … hey, check out the scenery!
King Kong (Achievement in Art Direction, Achievement in Visual Effects & more)
Talk about invasive species!
Badgered (Best Animated Short Film)
I haven’t seen this short yet, but I imagine humans are doing the badgering, and I wouldn’t be surprised if sprawl had a walk-on role.
Okay, some of these are a stretch, but I was just following in Katharine Wroth’s footsteps when she gave us a preview of this year’s green flicks. Superman? Come on!