The Los Angeles Times reports on the link between Hollywood and Washington, in light of the recent spate of films dealing with politics (Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty, Argo) and social issues (Silver Linings Playbook and mental health). In the case of the latter film, the director has a personal stake in addressing bipolar disorder.
Nevertheless, some observers say the D.C. tie-ins could be seen by Oscar voters as cynical grabs at some quick credibility.
"It's a curious conception that help will be coming soon from Washington in this arena," said veteran Hollywood awards consultant Tony Angellotti, who represents the filmmakers of "Zero Dark Thirty." "This is the worst-reviewed Congress in the history of Congress."
The worlds have become so entwined in recent weeks that one lawmaker, Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.), appears to have unwittingly created a perception problem for a filmmaker ally, Ben Affleck.
After he went to see "Lincoln" on Saturday, Courtney was bothered by the portrayal of Connecticut's vote on the 13th Amendment. (The movie suggests, incorrectly, the majority of his state's representatives in the House voted against the measure to abolish slavery.) He fired off a letter asking DreamWorks to set the record straight before the DVD release.
Courtney says he was just standing up for Connecticut's reputation. But some saw a more shadowy motivation to knock "Lincoln": Affleck, the director of "Argo," had campaigned for Courtney in 2006, a race Courtney won by just 83 votes.
In an interview, Courtney credited his win to a rally Affleck held on the University of Connecticut campus, but maintained that he had no contact with Affleck before writing about "Lincoln."
"It's hilarious, that conspiracy theory," Courtney said and laughed. "I'm not smart enough to know when Oscar voting begins." A spokeswoman for "Argo" said that "there was no involvement with the Courtney letter" and said she felt "dismay that anyone would suggest otherwise."