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Will Avatar's Racial Politics Bother Oscar Voters?

James Cameron’s science fiction blockbuster Avatar is nominated for nine Academy Awards. But should we worry about its controversial racial politics?

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But the point is that he didn’t. And as the possibilities of genuine dissent unravel into a confusing carnival of their cooptation, the racism charges stick.  

Cameron delivers his anti-modernity, pro-indigeneity and deep ecology parable through the most advanced of cinematic technologies and the body of a handsome white man.

We get to revel in our equal regard for Na’vi culture from the safest distance possible –“4.4 light years from Earth” to be precise – while adjusting our 3D glasses and munching on overpriced popcorn. Cameron has it both ways, knowing that we do too.

I'd forgive Cameron’s doublespeak and give  Avatar Oscars for art direction, make-up, visual effects and costume design. But the coveted Best Picture award should go to  Up in the Air , a far more down to earth film (pun intended).  

[This article is adapted from a video essay by the author, “Race Relations Light Years from Earth ,” on Ryeberg Curated Video .] 

 
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