Monday, 5 October 2009

Discriminating Oscar

“Nice white kids
Who like to lead the way
And once a month
We have our "negro day!"

I was reading this piece over at Awards Daily and began to get really mad. Seriously, “it flamed, flames on the side of my face” kind of mad.

It seems the anti Semitists of the world are causing a wee bit of a rukus due to the Polanski case. And of course the focus is on film, him being a director and all.

Of course this will not affect the awards race in any serious way. Polanski won an Oscar and any film dealing with the holocaust is awards fodder.

What it did get me thinking about is the other films out there about ‘minorities’ that this type of thing could happen to.

‘A Single Man’ has some very strong reviews in its favor, however its Best Picture chances are hindered by the subject matter. It will be considered a gay film – a terminology I hate, but it is something we use. The general public needs that distinction in case they wander into it thinking they are seeing the latest Coen brothers film. Imagine their disappointment at realizing they have paid admission to a gay film.

A gay film.

I mean is that label there specifically to slot it into a category of specialist cinema – out of reach for the general public? Like foreign, documentary errrr snuff (actually they sick way the world is going a snuff film would get more of an audience).

Sure ‘Brokeback Mountain’ crossed over but it had the added heft of being directed by a very respected STRAIGHT director.
Tom Ford is gay and this is his very first film as director.

Last night my BF wanted to watch ‘I Love You, Man’ and my reaction was: “But it’s a straight movie!” – so I am just as bad, but I argue it is about time tables were turned.
I mean my lovely gay dollar/pink pound goes out to supporting more straight aimed films than even I can imagine, and what do I get for thanks? Black Sunday that’s what!

And speaking of that movie, it was technically a race drama, but no, all non white film in Academy history has ever won Best Picture Oscar until last year with 'Slumdog Millionaire' which was directed by a white man.

How does this affect the chances of ‘Precious’?
Firstly will the film be nominated? Most people say it is a foregone conclusion that the film, director Lee Daniels, and actresses Mo’Nique and Gabourey Sibide will all be nominated.
How likely is this?
The film is supposed to be powerful stuff, and that can go a long way. It is a very difficult novel to read and even after the 4th time reading it I could not see how this movie could be made – and that is just for the abuse depicted.
So well done firstly for making the film, and secondly for it getting the overwhelming reaction it has received.

Will that reaction be enough in the end? It is difficult enough for a black film to get a nomination when directed by a white guy. Since 1970 I count ‘Sounder’, ‘A Soldiers Story’, ‘The Color Purple’ and ‘Ray’ and that is it people. Only four films.

‘Precious’ is winning festival awards and scoring extremely high with critics. Could it be that finally the mental melting pot is catching up with the physical?
Last year ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ was the champ of the season which shows that popular and affecting story telling can help erase the lines that race has drawn.
Can ‘Precious’ do that even further?

No comments: