Tuesday, March 1, 2011

"Inside Job" wins an Oscar

Charles Ferguson's Oscar Speech Rips Wall Street: 'Inside Job' Director Levels Criticism During Acceptance
02/28/11 11:54 AM
"Inside Job" won the 2011 Academy Award for best documentary on Sunday night. The film's director used his acceptance speech to deliver pointed criticism of Wall Street and the financial industry. more
Once again, the most interesting movie to win an Oscar sunday night was a documentary.  As someone who promotes non-fiction video at every opportunity, the rise of the documentary is a welcome alternative to the utter tedium of the movies that have but a passing nod at any reality any of us could ever experience.  It is not that I have religious objections to fiction--it is just that I want my storytelling to be believable.

While a good documentary should have professional-level photography, sound capture, and editing so as not to distract from the idea that the videographer is trying to convey, these elements have become essentially commoditized.  One of the reasons we seem to have entered the golden age of documentaries is that the cost of making one has become almost trivial.  With the playing field leveled, the great docs are distinguished by superior content.

And so it was with Inside Job--the most recent documentary to win an Oscar.  In roughly two hours, the financial meltdown of 2008 is essentially explained in a way even the thickest of us can understand.  Doc maker Charles Ferguson is so thorough, he even covers the roles played by the academic economists, those frauds who manage to transmute their uber-nerd understanding of the world into policy positions that have triggered economic calamities.

Inside Job has been on my radar for some time.  In fact, it or Ferguson have appeared six times on this blog since last July.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Inside Job, telling the bankster story
Cannes: How the bankers fleeced the world
Director Charles Ferguson on his smash Cannes doc, which indicts the financial sector as a "criminal industry"
Saturday, October 9, 2010
Why the Obama administration was never about Hope and Change
Larry Summers and the Subversion of Economics
By Charles Ferguson October 3, 2010
Thursday, October 14, 2010
The financial fraud was inevitable
The economic crisis was an 'inside job' by Kathleen Parker
Monday, October 18, 2010
Corrupted Economists
Conflicts of Interest and the Financial Crisis: It’s Also the Economics Profession, Stupid!
Friday, October 22, 2010
Banking isn't rocket science
Includes a video link to an interview of Ferguson
Saturday, December 4, 2010
The absurdity of doing nothing
The Financial Crisis and America's Political Duopoly
Charles Ferguson
For those critics who say Ferguson left import things out, they may have a point.  The following is a list of folks he tried to interview for his doc--but who wouldn't go on camera (for good reasons having to do with being wildly wrong, in most cases).  All of them were partly responsible for the biggest economic collapse in history.
Myron Scholes is a financial economist who is best known as one of the authors of the Black–Scholes equation. In 1997 he was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for a new method to determine the value of derivatives.
Mary Schapiro is the 29th chairperson of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).  She was nominated upon Obama's inauguration into office on January 20, 2009.  She is the first woman to chair the SEC. 
Nicholas Gregory Mankiw is an American macroeconomist. From 2003 to 2005, Mankiw was the chairman of President Bush's Council of Economic Advisors.  
Richard Fuld, Jr. is the former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Lehman Brothers. Fuld held the position since the firm's 1994 spinoff from American Express until 2008. 
Robert Rubin served as the 70th United States Secretary of the Treasury during both Clinton administrations. From November to December 2007, he served temporarily as Chairman of Citigroup. 
Ben Bernanke is the current Chairman of the United States Federal Reserve. Previously, he served as Chairman of President George W. Bush's Council of Economic Advisers.  
Henry Paulson, Jr. served as the 74th United States Treasury Secretary. He previously served as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Goldman Sachs.  He is currently a fellow at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).
Laura Tyson is the former Chair of the US President's Council of Economic Advisers during the Clinton Administration. She also served as Director of the National Economic Council. She is currently a professor at the Haas School of Business of the University of California, Berkeley.
Timothy Geithner is the current United States Secretary of the Treasury, serving under President Barack Obama. He was previously the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
Daniel H. Mudd was the President and CEO of Fannie Mae from 2005-2008.  Mudd is currently working as the CEO of Fortress Investment Group in New York City. 
SIR ANDREW LIKIERMAN (London Business School)
Professor Sir Andrew Likierman is Dean of the London Business School.  He is also non-executive Chairman of the National Audit Office and a non-executive Director of Barclays Bank plc.  
LEE BOLLINGER (Columbia University Pres.)
Lee Bollinger is the current president of Columbia University. In July, 2010 Bollinger was appointed Chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York board of directors for 2011. 
LAWRENCE SUMMERS (National Economics Council)
Lawrence Summers is the Director of the White House National Economic Council for President Barack Obama. Summers is the Charles W. Eliot University Professor at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. He was the Secretary of the Treasury for the last year and a half of the Clinton Administration.
RICHARD PORTES (London Business School)
Richard Portes is currently professor of Economics at London Business School. He is President of the Centre for Economic Policy Research which he founded in 1983. 
Alan Greenspan served as Chairman of the Federal Reserve of the United States from 1987 to 2006. First appointed Federal Reserve chairman by President Ronald Reagan in August 1987, he was reappointed at successive four-year intervals until retiring on January 31, 2006.
Joseph Cassano is an American insurance executive who was an officer at AIG Financial Products from the division's founding in 1987 until his resignation in February 2008.   
Lloyd Blankfein is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. since June 2006.
Charles Prince is the former CEO and chairman of Citi

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