Oscar's Artistic, Foul Mouth

Okay, the Oscars got something right this year with their Best Picture nominees. These films are all artistically sound, with elements that linger long after the credits roll.  The acting and technical aspects are superb.

But before you rush out to see them in their post-Oscar rollout, viewer beware: Four of the five films nominated are filled with profanity. Three depict some sort of drug use. Violent, gory scenes comprise most of the action in two of the films, and violence sets off a chain of events in a third.

One film contains graphic sexual nudity and two others feature sex outside marriage.

Only one of the five Best Picture nominees (The Queen) could comfortably be watched together by people of all ages.  That's how virtually ALL movies were during filmdom's Golden Age.

What does it say about Hollywood now that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has named Martin Scorsese's The Departed as Best Picture? 

It says, among other things, that seeing a close-up of a person being shot in the head (with blood and brains spattering) is something special. It says that language once viewed as supremely vulgar is now perfectly acceptable. (Last year's Best Picture winner, Crash, had more than 100 f-words, so they're really getting into this.)

It also says sexual nudity is no longer shocking, which makes “prudes” out of those of us who are tired of the flesh parade.

Movies are about more than artistic and commercial success.  They also build up or tear down the fabric of our society.  Hollywood once took morality, civility and decency into account when deciding which movies to honor.

Oscar still has a long way to go before getting things right.

Colleen Raezler is a research assistant at the Culture and Media Institute (www.cultureandmediainstitute.org), a division of the Media Research Center.