Movies for Change: The Oscars of Environmental Health

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The Oscars are nearly here, and everyone is asking, “Who will win best director,” “Will Sandra Bullock win again,” and “What was up with the ending of Her?”

We have another question: where are the Oscar-nominated environmental health movies of 2013? Last year’s crop of films may not have included any environmental health blockbusters like Wall-E, the 1998 movie about e-waste (and an Oscar winner  for best animated feature), 2000’s Erin Brockovich (a Best Actress Oscar for star Julia Roberts), or even 1998’s A Civil Action (no wins but a nomination for supporting actor Robert Duvall). But there must be some worthy movies of 2013 with a healthy message?

Fear not, our intrepid team spent countless hours watching movies last year, to bring you the best of the year’s movies for change.

Best Opportunity to Feel Like a Member of the Academy: even if you can’t vote for your Oscar favorites, the Real Food Media short film contest lets you vote for the best short food film. Voting ends March 2 (Oscar night!) at midnight, but luckily you can watch all ten nominated shorts in about 35 minutes, and then vote for your favorite.

Best Movie to Watch While Sitting on a Bar Stool: If you didn’t know that there are probably harmful flame retardant chemicals in your couch and other foam furniture, the HBO documentary Toxic Hot Seat is required viewing. Then check out resources and more information on flame retardants from CEH.

Best Movie to Watch with Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson: There’s no better pick for this category than Josh Fox’s anti—fracking sequel Gasland 2. Fracking opponents gasped when we learned that Exxon’s CEO has joined our ranks! That’s right, Rex Tillerson is upset about a proposed water tower to be built to supply fracking operations near his Texas home. So take him with you to see Gasland – I’m sure he’ll spring for the popcorn!

Best Parody of a Transit Safety Video: The Australian Metro system video Dumb Ways to Die has prompted dozens of parody videos, none funnier (or more topical, to environmental health that is) than our own Dumb Ways to Shop.

Best Awards Show (now a web series!) Without Any Long Dull Thank You Speeches: A daring investigative reporter follows seven harmful chemicals found in everyday products, exposing their long-hidden threats to our children and families. That’s the premise of The Toxies, formerly an awards show, now a web series working to end chemical health threats for good!

Most Likely to Make You Want to Rid Your House of All Consumer Goods: Sean Penn narrates and produced The Human Experiment, a film about everyday toxics by Don Hardy and Dana Nachman.  The gripping movie highlights examples of everyday people coming together to change outdated chemical regulations. Unacceptable Levels takes a more personal look, as father and filmmaker Ed Brown seeks to understand why there are thousands of everyday chemicals that threaten his children’s health, while the government lags decades behind the science in taking action to protect us from harmful chemicals.

Best Pre-Production Buzz: Those old enough to recall the 1984 cult classic The Toxic Avenger will be thrilled to learn that a remake is in the works. The film is being directed by Steve Pink, who directed Hot Tub Time Machine (and several episodes of the hilarious web series Children’s Hospital) and co-wrote Grosse Pointe Blank, High Fidelity, and many other movies. Even better, Steve is a long time supporter of CEH.