By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – The Academy Awards nominations are out, and as usual, the chosen few give us a window of sorts into the mindset of Hollywood – what they like, what they think we like, and how wide a gap there is between the two.

Best Picture nominee “The Shape of Water” tells the story of a lonely woman who finds love in the gills of a strange aquatic beast with magical powers. It depicts government officials as duplicitous and evil.

This nominee shows us the power of movies to bring fantasies alive, but also highlights Hollywood’s obsession with politics. I’ll leave it up to you who the beast represents, and I’m sure everyone across the political spectrum will come up with someone different.

Another Best Picture contestant is “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” a story of violence, abuse of power, hatred and revenge. Until they come out with an actual biopic of the Harvey Weinstein story, this will have to do.

These two nominees and most of the other ones offer a fairly bleak picture of human nature and if that means Hollywood is dealing with some honest self-loathing these days, maybe that’s a good thing.

Which leads me to the nominee I think should win the award, “Get Out,” the story of a young black man who visits his white girlfriend’s family for what turns out to be a nightmare weekend. This movie deals more honestly with issues of racial identity and racism than most of the political rhetoric we hear on those subjects.

Plus, it’s got laughs and moments of genuine horror. Art imitating life, you might say.

Share your thoughts on the nominees with me via email at, or you can reach me on Twitter, @kelleratlarge.

  1. As one who regularly and recurringly eschews all of the offerings of “Holloywood”, I could care less about who gets nominated for an “Oscar” or, for that matter, “Oscar” himself.

    I have a problem with people who’s sole claim to fame is that they can impersonate someone else.

    Why? Because when they speak, you never have a sense as to who they really are. And when they speak about poverty and economic equality, I can only see their hypocrisy in demanding huge money for their “projects”, choosing to live well-guarded lives behind gates and walls and body guards, and doing everything they can to assure that the massive sums they make stay in their own bank accounts, economic equality be damned.

    Is your need for “escape”, Jon, such that you are unable to find enjoyment in a good book or two?

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