Though the 83rd Academy Awards was rarely entertaining (okay… it was about as much fun as a chemistry midterm), it was, for the most part, apolitical. There were a couple of exceptions, however, the most notable was perhaps cinematography winner Wally Pfister who gave special thanks to his union crew on “Inception.”
From ABC News:
Backstage he went further, expressing shock at Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s budget proposal, which would limit union’s collective bargaining powers…
“I think that what is going on in Wisconsin is kind of madness right now,” Pfister says. “I have been a union member for 30 years and what the union has given to me is security for my family. They have given me health care in a country that doesn’t provide health care and I think unions are a very important part of the middle class in America all we are trying to do is get a decent wage and have medical care.”
Yes, nothing like an Academy Award winner who can afford to send his three children to whatever school he wants coming to the aide of the unions that have destroyed the public schools.
Regardless of your perception of unions, comparing Hollywood unions to the Wisconsin teachers union is hardly apples to apples. Hollywood unions bargain with corporations that have money they have earned by making movies like “Memento,” “Batman Begins,” “The Prestige,” “The Dark Knight,” and “Inception” (just to name a few Pfister has worked on personally), and unions collectively bargain to get a greater share of the revenue. Governments, on the other hand, don’t earn anything; they extract taxes from citizens, many of whom have fallen on tough financial times. Pfister’s union crew bargains with the capitalists that have a stake in the outcome of the negotiation, a vested interest in reaching a reasonable agreement with the unions – their bottom line depends on it. Governments, on the other hand, have no such bottom line to worry about (see: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act). In Wisconsin, the unions are trying to strong-arm politicians (many of whom are bankrolled by the unions come campaign time) in order to pad their pension fund with tax dollars, all at the direct expense of the state’s fiscal health.
Hollywood unions bargain with corporations for the corporations’ money; in Wisconsin, they’re bargaining with union-backed politicians for the taxpayers’ money. It’s one thing to add to the Warner Brothers’ tab; it’s quite another to add to the citizens’.
Yet, the way Pfister understands things, it’s the taxpayers, sick and tired of getting pick-pocketed by the teachers unions, who are responsible for the “madness.”
Still, we saw awards go to left-leaning Hollywoodists like Aaron Sorkin, Colin Firth, and Natalie Portman, among others, without many sucker-punches for us to highlight, so we thank Mr. Pfister for the content.