And the Oscar for Most Brilliant Activism by Hollywood Celebrity Goes to ... 'Flesh-Eating Zombies on Wall St.'

News & Politics

The Harry Potter director and five movie stars have just released a new advocacy video. Can you guess the cause célèbre? Stray dogs in Sochi? No. Victims of the latest natural disaster? No. Raising taxes? Yes.

For their courage in promoting the least sexy of all topics, the Academy will be honoring them with the Oscar for best celebvocacy short. Or at least they should be, if such a category existed.

One of the actors in the video is Andrew Lincoln of the AMC series “The Walking Dead,” in which he fights flesh-eating zombies. By participating in this project, Lincoln is taking on an even more formidable adversary: Wall Street.

The setting is a newscast in the year 2024, looking back at the impact of a financial transaction tax on stock and derivatives trading. In real life, 11 European governments are aiming to finalize the details of such a tax in the coming months – in the face of intense opposition from Wall Street lobbyists and their allies across the pond.

But in the video, Lincoln anchors a panel of bankers from Germany, France, and Spain who have come to love the tax. Even at a small fraction of a percent on each trade, it has generated enough money for their countries to boost public services and programs to fight global poverty and climate change.

Meanwhile, a British banker, played by Bill Nighy (you’ll recognize him from “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” with Judi Dench, "Love, Actually" and many other films), becomes increasingly agitated by all the plaudits. His country, you see, never adopted the tax. 

Now we need an American version of the video. While the big economies of continental Europe are moving ahead with this tool for curbing short-term speculation and raising much-needed revenue, the United States, like the UK, is being held hostage by its financial sector.

Let’s see, what Hollywood star could we get to play the short-sighted banker? Michael Douglas didn’t mind exposing Wall Street greed as Gordon Gekko. Kevin Spacey lifted the veil on the financial casino in Margin Call. Or perhaps Leonardo DiCaprio would like to play the wolf against Wall Street?

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