Even during a pandemic, cinema remains one of the most exciting and influential forms of media. In fact, this is often the very best format to bring the ideas of human freedom to life. Of course, it is more frequently used to advance propaganda. Even during a pandemic, there were great tales of bravery, individualism, and liberty to be told. Unfortunately, we also saw this form of storytelling used to lie to Americans about their history and to placate the Chinese Communist Party. Here are the winners — and losers — of the 2021 Liberty in Film Awards.
- Best Picture – Mr. Jones
- Mr. Jones tells the true life tale of a brave journalist who snuck into communist Russia and exposed Walter Duranty’s lies about the success of the Soviets. This story simultaneously shows us both the best and the worst of journalism. Rather than “speaking truth to power,” Duranty’s New York Times was instead serving as a useful idiot for a tyrannical regime while people starved to death.
When the journalist returned home, no one believed his story because it went against the popular narrative about the Soviet Union, as put forth by the Times. This is a great reminder about the dangers of silencing unpopular viewpoints. Perhaps YouTube keeps that in mind before they delete videos of governors and experts discussing COVID.
Unfortunately, the parallels between the communist sympathizers in 1930’s media and between how today’s Hollywood handles China are undeniable. The very folks who complain about putting “profits before people” do exactly that as they attempt to break into the Chinese market.
- Bravest Man in Hollywood – Planet of the Humans producer, Michael Moore
- Planet of the Humans explores the fraud at the core of the environmental movement in America. It shows how well-intentioned activists are completely deceived by the leaders of “Green” organizations who actually partner with massive polluters. I used to believe that at our heart, all of us are environmentalists and that all of us care about our planet, but after watching this film I think those who care about it least are those who pretend to care the most. Credit to Michael Moore, who certainly irked many of his leftwing pals by helping to make this happen. And no surprise that the leftists in Hollywood didn’t give him another Oscar nomination for this one.
- Best Reminder That Politics is Downstream from Culture – Bill and Ted Face the Music
- As any fan of this trilogy knows, Bill S. Preston, Esquire, and Ted, Theodore Logan are destined to write a song that unites the Earth. This seems preposterous, but let’s remember that politics is downstream from culture. As Andrew Fletcher famously said, “Let me make the songs of a nation, and I care not who makes its laws.” For better and for worse, the power of culture over our society cannot be overstated.
- Bravest Woman in Hollywood – Nomadland director, Chloé Zhao
- Zhao might just win Best Picture for her interesting and quirky film about radical individuals. But she’s even more noteworthy for having her film censored in China. Unlike the powerful executives at the big studios, Chloé Zhao, a Chinese-American, had the bravery to speak out against China.
- Biggest Nothingburger – The Hunt
- Conservatives are understandably suspicious of any political film coming from Hollywood, but in this film they were actually the victims rather than the villains. It’s a good reminder that we should actually wait for films to be released before protesting them.
- Best Celebration of a Slave Trading Monarchist – Hamilton
- Catchy tunes and good acting performances cannot overshadow the fact that Alexander Hamilton was a monarchist who wanted a president to serve for life and appoint the governors. Basically like Putin’s Russia, today. And while he didn’t own slaves he did actively participate in the slave trade. Perhaps rather than making him out to be a hero perhaps leftists should consider tearing down his monuments.
- Best Fiery but Peaceful Picture – The Trial of the Chicago 7
- The only thing worse than their whitewashing of history was Sacha Baron Cohen’s accent. It was easily his funniest performance of the year. This piece of historical fan-fiction made heroes out of society’s left-wing villains. Despite this, director Adam McKay calls Sorkin a right-winger. How far to the left do you have to be in order to think Sorkin is a right-winger? Well if you’re McKay, far enough to the left to get five Oscar nominations, thus far. Also, the only thing worse than their historical inaccuracy was Sacha Baron Cohen’s accent. This was easily his funniest performance of the year.
- Best Depiction of Empty Feminist Platitudes – Wonder Woman 1984
- How sexist were the two male co-writers of this film that they thought the empty platitudes put forth would in some way inspire young women? The dialogue uttered by the film’s protagonist had less dimension to it than the comic book that inspired this film. These girls could get better, more insightful advice from a fortune cookie.
- Best Alleged Comedy that is Really Just a Political Hit Piece – Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.
- The full title of this Borat sequel might have more words in it than a dictionary, but it’s missing some of the most accurate words and phrases: “sell-out”, propaganda, “cheap shot.” Sacha Baron Cohen was once a brave, clever, and hysterically funny provocateur. But this attempt to smear the Trump administration in the final days before the election wasn’t rebellious, it was just desperate and unfunny. Rather than laughing at those who are being tricked, we just feel bad for them.
- Best Attempt to Pacify an Evil Totalitarian Market Where You Seek to Sell Your Film – Disney, Mulan
- Disney, in a desperate attempt to cash in on the Chinese market, shot part of this film in Xinjiang. They won’t shoot in Georgia but they’ll shoot in Xinjiang! Even worse, the star of the film made comments supporting the government of Hong Kong against the protestors fighting for freedom. She’s certainly entitled to her opinion, but somehow I feel like the PR campaign would’ve gone differently if she had defended law enforcement…in America.