This was the only movie of the eight nominated that was the slightest bit comfortable.
If you go through the list, there’s two movies whose unambiguous message is, “man, isn’t the CIA awesome?” Then there’s a “man, isn’t our greatest president so great?” joint by Spielberg. “Silver Linings Playbook,” which was good for a romantic comedy but, um, why was it nominated again? Did Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence tag-team lap dance the entire academy for that one? Then there’s “Les Miserables,” for which we don’t even need to ask the tag-team lap dance question. “Amour” is the obligatory “man, doesn’t sickness suck?” Oscar-bait, and “Life of Pi,” and “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” are inspirational but overrated kids movies.
That leaves us with “Django Unchained,” and even though we’re biased towards Tarantino anyway, this movie rocked. It had Tarantino’s normal love of violence and collage of genres, but there’s something more. This might be the most important film about American slavery since “Roots.” It’s Tarantino’s love of violence that accomplishes this. Slavery was f–king violent, ugly, and uncomfortable. If any of these other nominated directors tried – and some have tried, Mr. Spielberg – they would have found a way to whitewash the torture, the way overseers and masters spoke to and treated their slaves. And they certainly would have left out Samuel L. Jackson’s character, the evil house slave who’s just as bad – if not worse – than the actual masters. People like that existed during slavery, suffering from a form of Stockholm Syndrome.
For a good, in-depth analysis of the entire movie, check out Roger Ebert’s review. Yes, he’s actually qualified occasionally.