SIDESWIPE – Hollywood’s annual awards boondoggle has been perplexing ever since Julia Roberts won best actress for a run of the mill portrayal of Erin Brockovich in the forgettable 1991 movie of the same name. Originally instituted as a marketing ploy, Oscars were supposed to transform actors into stars. By the time Roberts won, they were being awarded to stars whose turn had come for official recognition whatever the merits of individual performances. Politics had taken over. Nowhere is this more evident than in the documentary feature category, which exists for liberal campaigners to exploit with movies like Bowling for Columbine in 2002 (anti-gun) and An Inconvenient Truth (global warming) in 2006. This year’s winner, The Cove, is anti-dolphin use and takes Hollywood to a new low with its openly racist undertones against people from Japan and the Caribbean, who are portrayed as evil and stupid. As an article of art, The Cove limps on incoherently, massaging the egos of the activists, misrepresenting the facts and getting caught up in the contradictions of anthropomorphism. Just six other people paid to see the movie when I watched it last August, two of whom spent the entire time discovering how close they could embrace each other. Hollywood’s endorsement will help the campaigners gain more publicity for their dubious convictions but, judging from its Box Office failure, Americans clearly hold propaganda movies in deservedly low regard.