Mr. Tharoor.. You have a point.. But this is a movie and I guess the history or humanitarian sense of the character portrayed should not have much bearing on an award.. should it?
That said I want to thank you for bringing that side of Churchill people do not much discuss. Churchill was a racist and responsible for the death of hundreds of thousands of Indians…. He has very clearly stated that he hates Indians and he has said similar things about people in Palestine, Kenya and Sudan. He probably considered the non-white (or may be Non-British?) as lesser humans. This is where Patriotism and any kind of ‘ism’ falls flat in front of Human values….
But Churchill played a big role in driving WWII in the direction of a better world by standing tall against the Hitlerian Mussolinian conquests and fascist invasion…. I think the world would have been a worse place if Hitler and Mussolini and Japan would have gotten away with it.
But that said I think we should not forget that a man like Churchill could have done the same if in Hitler’s Shoes…. To be honest there are many people in this world who could take Hitler’s position if given a chance, but all the cards did not aligned that way for them. That is why we need strong voices against Fascism in this world.
If roles were reversed and character remained unchanged many might be hailing Hitler and Chruchill could have got his villainic value…
I appreciate you writing this because people in India should also know that Churchill would never have conceded to the ill clad fakir (Churchill’s own reference of Gandhi)…. And if he had a chance he would have killed as many Indians as he wanted to please his owner the Queen… And to please he would have done any kind of tyranny…
Now even Gandhi is not above criticism…. and so it’s tough when we compare movies to the characters played…. Ben Kinsley was given award because he played Gandhi well and Gandhi and what he stood for did not (and should not) have a role to play in it. That is why I think Hollywood should not bear the Brunt for Churchill’s character.
For example another movie that came this year the Greatest showman is about PT Barnum who is in no way the benevolent guy portrayed by Hugh Jackman. He made his money spreading lies and he started his business by purchasing and exhibiting a blind and almost paralyzed slave woman, Joice Heth, who he portrayed as George Washington’s former nurse, and said she is 161 years old.
Imagine Slavery was abolished in New York but Barnum, found a loophole in the law and did a lease instead of a purchase. In the Greatest Showman I think history or facts needed for the movie is conveniently omitted or twisted to give a good image to the protagonist. I am not sure if in Darkest Hours which tells the story during a specific time should have any reference of his other side, may be it would have been deterrent to the storyline itself.
And I guess if Hugh would have done a good job and he was awarded an Oscar calling that out for who Barnum was would not make sense would it?
Another scenario is The King of Scotland, a movie on Idi Amin that garnered Forest Whitaker his Oscar…. Idi Amin was no messiah… And May be next year Javier Bardem might earn one for Loving Pablo….. And we all know Pablo and during his time fear or now fear, he too had a lot of peopel consider him a messiah.
I watched Darkest Hours and I think the award for Gary oldman is well deserved…. I think the problem is more because the racist, bigot side of Churchill is never much known… That said (as you mentioned) not many people know that Churchill was the recipient of the 1953 Nobel Prize was Literature that is after being nominated 4 times before 🙂
Read Tharoor’s Article here In Winston Churchill, Hollywood rewards a mass murderer