J. Edgar

R for hypocrisy in high places, corruption that goes right to the top, big gay secrets

Release Date: November 9, 2011


Oh, J. Edgar, how will Oscar voters love thee? Let me count the ways.

You feature covert gay relationships, and a director, Clint Eastwood, who hasn’t won in a while. You are a period piece, but with timeless themes, such as how awesome Judi Dench sounds when she says things like “diabolical proportions” and “The blood is on your hands, Edgar.”

You use a historical moment to hold a mirror to present-day society, forcing the viewer to reflect upon the fact that, now that you mention it, fingerprinting technology is pretty sweet. Your trailer slyly namedrops both “Roosevelt” and “Kennedy,” who most Oscar voters have heard of, even if they can’t put their finger on where.

You star Leonardo DiCaprio, who is due for an acting award after being snubbed for The Aviator and for his 1992 role in Growing Pains, on the technicality that Growing Pains was a family sitcom and not a movie. And to play your title role, DiCaprio had to gain 15 pounds and 35 years, a sacrifice that will confuse but impress the Academy.

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