The 84th Academy Awards are on Sunday, and this year’s nominees are a large group of crowd pleasers who spend a lot of time—sometimes too much—addressing war, infidelity, the sanctity of life, and nostalgia for the 20th century. Sound familiar? It should: That also sums up the GOP’s 2012 presidential field. We decided to look at what some of this year’s films have in common with Romney, Paul, and the rest.
Mitt Romney: The Artist
One comes from a more innocent time, appeals to old people, has connections to France and—though it is seemingly a lock to win—few are overly enthused with it; the other is Mitt Romney. If The Artist scoops up Best Picture, perhaps Romney should take a cue from it and try talking less—apparently, silence can make you seem a lot more charming.
Jon Huntsman: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Huntsman served as ambassador to China for President Obama before retaking his place in the GOP field. Now that he’s back, the party’s not sure they can trust him—maybe he’s been turned by the Democrats and is working as a mole? These aren’t the only similarities between Huntsman and Tinker Tailor: Audiences found them both slow and hard to follow.
Ron Paul: Moneyball
Ron Paul wants to do with the United States what Billy Beane tried with the Oakland A’s—namely, make it succeed on a puny budget. Just imagine a screenplay where Paul hires Peter Brand (Jonah Hill), a smart young disciple of Austrian school economics, to develop a winning strategy of harsh austerity measures like denying insurance coverage to new players with preexisting conditions. Keep your eyes peeled for the next summer blockbuster: Moneypaul.
Rick Santorum: The Tree of Life
Critics have derided Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life, with its mid-movie digression into microbes and dinosaurs, as self-indulgent and masturbatory. But what would Rick Santorum have done in the director’s chair? If there are two things that he won’t abide, they are science and masturbation. Above, Santorum encourages Jessica Chastain to embrace her natural and God-given role as the submissive housewife.
Newt Gingrich: 50/50
This film wasn’t actually nominated, but then again, what are the chances Newt will be nominated either? The thematic similarities between Seth Rogen’s movie and Newt’s life are impossible to ignore—though the story of how Kyle (Rogen) helps his best friend Adam (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) cope with a sudden diagnosis of terminal illness probably would have been a lot more disturbing if Gingrich had starred. After all, his record as a friend in tough times is, well, spotty: He divorced his hospitalized wife as she recovered from uterine cancer, and is alleged to have said, “She’s not young enough or pretty enough to be the wife of a President. And besides, she has cancer.” That would also make a good movie, but probably a less heartwarming one.
Rick Perry: The King’s Speech
Yes, we know this is from last year, but it’s too good to pass up. (Besides, some of us only Netflixed it this year). Like Rick Perry, The King’s Speech was a major player in 2011 but has since had a quiet winter. After stammering, forgetting key points of his campaign and saying “oops” during a nationally televised debate, Perry probably wished he had King George VI’s speech therapist. Just think, it may have helped him become King of the United States.
Michele Bachmann: Contagion
Though Michele Bachmann later admitted she didn’t have the science to back up her suggestion that the HPV vaccine could cause “mental retardation,” it’s a good thing she wasn’t the country’s president during Contagion, Steven Soderbergh’s movie about a society threatened by a deadly disease. Given her conspiratorial anti-vaccine views, the body count would have been much, much higher.
Chris Christie: My Week with Marilyn
Republicans spent a week infatuated by Christie’s allure back in 2011 when it looked like he might enter the race, but it turned out the full-figured governor was just a tease.