Saturday, May 25 is the 50th anniversary of the theatrical release of Midnight Cowboy, the first — and only — X-rated film to win the Best Picture Oscar. One the same day, one of its stars, Jon Voight, released a video in which he compared a guy whose employees confuse basic work lingo with Oreo cookies to Abraham Lincoln.
“Our country is stronger, safer and with more jobs because our president has made his every move correct,” Voight said in the two-part video. “Don’t be fooled by the political left because we are the people of this nation that is witnessing triumph.”
Voight — who was nominated for Midnight Cowboy but lost to John Wayne in True Grit — is one of Hollywood’s more famous flip-floppers. He won his Oscar for 1978’s Coming Home, in which he played a disabled veteran who speaks out against the Vietnam War and has an affair with Jane Fonda. In real life, he was an active anti-war activist and an enthusiastic supporter of George McGovern.
In the late aughts — around the time Barack Obama became president — his political views had dramatically shifted. Since then he’s been outspoken champion of Republican causes. This hasn’t done much harm to his acting career; he’s still receiving raves, and sometimes awards, for his intense work on Ray Donovan, though it’s been awhile since he was cast in a Transformers movie.
Voight’s video has been predictably divisive. Trump supporters ate it up, despite having criticized lefty actors for weighing in on politics. That didn’t go unnoticed by others across the social media landscape.
Others criticized his acting (however unfairly — he was very good in, among many others, the 1970 film version of Catch-22).
Others wondered if there’s a reason he’s so good at playing baddies.
Some wondered if this wasn’t an outside-the-box marketing ploy.
Some wondered if Voight’s late-life political about-face isn’t some Andy Kaufman-esque long con.
Many felt bad for his daughter, one Angelina Jolie, from whom he is famously estranged.
Some pointed out that Voight has joined rarified company.