Django's story, however cartoonish, is America's story too. It is unique in its courage to confront us with some of the more sordid parts of our history and should be revisited often, like the Exodus, lest we forget, as my family Haggadah says, "how bitter is the lot of one caught in the grip of slavery."
An unusual number of films nominated for Oscars this year deal with real people, real histories, and real dilemmas. Artists brought the tools of big screen virtuosity, humor, beauty and sometimes brutality to images fished from the real world. At the same time, critics and members of the casual public asked that filmmakers be guardians of fact and responsible for the impact of their fiction. Interestingly, this movement dovetailed into calls for Hollywood to speak up about its role in gun violence. That artists are called to be more responsible and "true" is a tip of hat to their power. At this moment, the arts revealed our national politics, our ills and our triumphs. Could arts do yet more to influence our politics?