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Culture Buzz
February 2, 2005

By James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.
contributor to

Pro-Life Advocates Protest Oscar-Nominated Film

Pro-lifers have been protesting the film "Vera Drake."

The independent film with the pro-abortion theme is actually up for three Oscars including Best Director (Mike Leigh) and Best Actress (Imelda Staunton).

Protesters contend that the film is essentially pro-abortion propaganda and also distorts historical reality.

"Vera Drake" celebrates illegal abortions that took place in the 1950s.

A spokesperson for the group Right to Life told the U.K.'s Contact Music Web site that "the way in which the pro-abortion lobby made abortion legal was through exaggerated claims about deaths caused by back-street abortions," adding that "nobody claimed any back-street abortionist was an altruist. They were regarded as money-grabbing little women who [were] out to get what they could from neighbors in trouble. The reason why they are being canonized now is that the abortion lobby knows it is losing public support."

Left-wing Politics Win at Sundance Awards

Known for being a sanctuary for left-leaning cinema, the Sundance Film Festival recently gave honors to films with political themes.

The fictional movie "Forty Shades of Blue" and the documentary "Why We Fight" took the festival's top awards.

The American Documentary Jury Prize was awarded to "Why We Fight," a film that asserts U.S. policy must continuously seek world wars in order to support the military-industrial complex. Like it or not, for independent films Sundance is the most powerful fest around. A nod from it can mean recognition and box office reward.

Jamie Foxx's Guardian Angel

This year's Oscar host, Chris Rock, announced that Jamie Foxx won't be leaving the awards show empty-handed. Rock said if Foxx doesn't win, he'll steal him one of the little statues.

Interestingly, Foxx wouldn't even be in the position he's in if it weren't for one particular media mogul who kept the Ray Charles biopic alive.

Phil Anschutz agreed to pay for half of the film's projected costs, but because a financial partner who would fund the other half of the budget couldn't be found, the project was stopped in its tracks.

Director Taylor Hackford told the San Francisco Chronicle that Anschutz said: "To hell with it. I'll pay for the whole thing."

And Anschutz did so without a distributor or a commitment.

"Ray" is closing in on $80 million, which should help offset Anschutz's box office failure "Around the World in 80 Days."

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James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.

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