Right around the time of the Iowa Caucus a theory started floating around on some of the movie websites I visit positing that there was a parallel between the (it would now seem temporary) fall from grace Hillary Clinton was enduring and the turned fortunes of the at one-time, written in stone lock for Best Picture, Atonement, which has been summarily ignored by both the Screen Actor’s Guild and the Director’s Guild. This got me wondering whether the peaks and valleys of a presidential race was really any different from the equally unending “race to the Oscars” and whether there where any other comparisons to be made between the candidates in both the presidential and best picture race.
A couple caveats to start: This should be taken in the spirit of fun. I’m not looking to hear how I’ve grossly simplified such and such candidate. Obviously I had to stretch to make some of these work (my Romney comparison is especially iffy) but these more or less reflect how the media is presenting these people at this point in time. The other thing is I’m limiting this to major candidates since I have no desire to try and find parallels between Bill Richardson and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly or Ron Paul to 3:10 to Yuma. That said…
No Country For Old Men: John McCain
The tentative favorite but no one feels very confident about it. Been in the game forever; viewed by some as “due” but may be too quirky and angry to get a majority vote. A superficial resemblance to previous winners but is pretty much a text book case of marching to the beat of their own drum. More popular with men than women.
Juno: Barack Obama
A ton of media hype at the moment which may not be reflective of actual popularity with voters. The one people are actually emotionally invested in. Skewers younger and outside the usual interests of the competition which will either end up causing a stunning surprise victory or the crumble most cynics have been calling for. All about verbal dexterity which detractors claim disguises a lack of depth. Will piss off *a lot* of people if they somehow win.
Atonement: Hillary Clinton
Was the early front-runner, now it’s kind of shocking to find someone who actually likes them. Gives the outward appearance of a contender but there’s really nothing there beyond the prestige and air of self-importance. Makes a point of calling attention to how smart they are. Technically proficient but completely airless and unsatisfying. More popular with women than men.
Michael Clayton: Mitt Romney
Has the air of a contender to them (wears suits well) but no one seems capable of nailing down what either is actually about. Rides the fence between activism and good old fashion showmanship. Just vaguely out there without any real vocal supporters. Keeps showing up at all the run-offs but seems likely to always come in second.
There Will Be Blood: Mike Huckabee
Passionate support but, at the moment, too localized to make a difference. Rather unpleasant the more you think about what they’re saying. Kinda bloated. Knows a thing or two about drinking milkshakes. Walks an uneasy line between creepy religion and the secular world. Emanates strange music.
Into the Wild: John Edwards
Just good old fashion, bleeding heart liberalism. Seems to belong to a bygone era when the country used to eat this sort of earnestness up but now it’s either falling on deaf ears or siphoning votes from stronger candidates. Surged a bit lately but is likely too little too late.
American Gangster: Rudy Guliani
The rockstar in the race that no one thinks can win. A big name that everyone is familiar with but when you really look under the hood you can’t help but be disappointed that they aren’t more impressive. No one really wants to badmouth them although the consensus is they just didn’t quite live up to their early buzz.