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Reverse Mortgages at the Oscars: No Wins, But a HUD Nod

Lost in the already-infamous Best Picture mixup last night was another bit of Oscar history: The 89th Academy Awards may very well have been the first to include both a film about reverse mortgages and a joke about the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

“Hell or High Water,” a drama about two brothers who set out on a bank-robbing spree to pay off their late mother’s reverse mortgage lien, was nominated for four awards last night, including Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actor for costar Jeff Bridges. While the crime thriller didn’t take home any trophies, it did spawn discussions of home equity conversion mortgages — for better or for worse — in the popular media, as RMD reported last week.

Host Jimmy Kimmel also dropped a reference to HUD in a joke about blockbuster superhero movies: “It has been an amazing year for comic book movies,” Kimmel said. “‘Doctor Strange’ was nominated for Outstanding Visual Effects, and was also named Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.”

Kimmel’s quip was an obvious reference to Ben Carson, a medical doctor who President Trump tapped to helm HUD last month. Carson’s nomination and eventual confirmation hearings drew controversy from both liberals and conservatives, as the former neurosurgeon and 2016 Republican presidential hopeful had no previous public-housing experience.

While RMD can’t say for certain, two HECM-related references in one Oscar night is almost certainly a record, one that may never be broken — unless any budding filmmakers out there have ideas for films about Financial Assessment or HECM for purchase.

Written by Alex Spanko