Not too long ago, I read an article inVarietymagazine about how “sunnier” scripts get the vote from the Academy. Not that the granting of an Oscar actually is a reflection of the quality of the script or film, but how strange that such a “redeemed” American institution like the Academy does not understand its own prejudices and biases. But I’m not writing to criticize the Academy or the politics behind it. I am more interested in what this gesture reflects about the larger social perception of American film. If films that receive such recognized awards like the Oscars are usually fare that makes an audience feel positive aspects like laughter or successful romantic escapades, then we are missing the inspection and recognition of other genres that explore the multiple other aspects of human emotion and experience. We are, in essence, extolling the idea that darker shades of reality really aren’t worth recognition and respect within cinema. “Big deal,” you might think. “We get enough violence and catastrophe in the daily news.” Sure. We do, I agree. But, the news is a different forum than film and has its own agenda driven by so many countless factors. Film, on the other hand, at its best, explores all aspects of human nature, including all the crap that we don’t want to look at that journalism laps up like a hungry cat does with milk. Discussing the biases of most American film viewers with a friend, we both felt that American audiences don’t like to be uncomfortable. As a culture on the whole, we try very hard to shield ourselves from the harsh realities of life that many other cultures generally have to deal with on a daily basis: hunger, government corruption and abuse of human rights, genocide, racial and religious violence, etc. etc. We like our films to reassure us, protect us, make us relax, feel like life is going to be okay, that our children are going to turn out fine, and our marriages and relationships are going to be happy. I wonder, however, what turning away from violence, sexual deviancy, racism, corruption, and all the other darker sides of ourselves does to us in the long run. I firmly believe that by ignoring the “evil” aspects of our natures, we, in turn, only amplify these traits within our culture. There is a lack of balance if the “good” American film scripts, by looking at the history of what the Academy prefers, are only works that reflect some Disney-fied perspective of the world. This continues to create the escapist approach to most of American entertainment, and pigeon-hole films into a rather stagnant arena where motivenumero unois to placate, calm, and soothe the audience. It’s like feeding everyone one great big tit to suckle while tucking a blanky around our necks. But the kids gotta grow up and be weaned from the breast or they just end up as adults who live in the basement of their parents’ houses. Chicks get kicked out of the nest or they’ll never be able to realize that they have wings and can fly. Okay, corny reference to birds and flight, but I think I’ve made my point. Denial of what people do to each other and themselves at their worst does not prevent that which we fear from happening, it only increases its chances of occurring.