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Oh No It’s Award Season Again Thread

Share your thumbs-ups and thumbs-downs here, for whatever production and whoever’s performance, and feel free to go to town with subtext and meta-commentary, especially the marginalisation of movies centring people of colour yet again amongst the Oscar contenders. Just please be spoiler-aware for those readers who haven’t managed to catch up with various books/movies/TV yet.

A pale skinned woman with blonde hair stands in the foreground of an expansive rural landscape. She is dressed extremely stylishly in 50s-era dress, gloves and hat, and is carrying a Singer sewing machine in its wooden case.
Kate Winslet in the official poster for The Dressmaker
I’ll get you started. I went to see The Dressmaker recently with my sister: we laughed, we gasped, we laughed, we held our breath, we laughed, we cried, we laughed, had a good long chat about it afterwards, will probably discuss it further the next time we meet, and both plan to read the novel ASAP.

I hear this IMO excellent Australian film, starring Kate Winslet, Hugo Weaving, Judy Davis, Liam Hemsworth and an eccentric small town’s worth of many of Australia’s finest comedic and dramatic actors, hasn’t been getting much buzz in the US. That’s a shame. If you are lucky enough to be near one of the (allegedly) relatively few cinemas showing it over there, please consider going to see it. If you love sweeping cinematography of Australia’s wide brown land with characters pondering justice and revenge while wearing killer frocks in the middle of a town full of secrets, teetering on the razor edge separating comedy and tragedy, then this is the sort of film you will probably adore. If you’re not fond of films that mix and shift genres frequently, this might not be the film for you (it starts out PG Wodehouse meets Dimboola, then frankly rides a roller-coaster that’s hard to describe, although director Jocelyn Moorehouse went with “Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven with a sewing machine.”).

There’s an official trailer that in my opinion doesn’t give strong enough teasers for most of what I’ve just described above. That could well be one reason it hasn’t had quite the box office it deserves, and why it probably won’t garner nominations for many awards outside Australia (not even for costume design, which is just criminal). It’s also a movie where the two lead characters are women, at least half the conversations are between female characters, based on a book written by a woman, with a large roster of women working behind the camera. That may well be why even the minor female characters felt so compellingly relatable, embodying so many different aspects of women I’ve known for both good and bad over the years.

Sis and I are planning to have our regular lunches near a cinema for the next month or so, in order to take advantage of both their air-conditioning while it’s so hot here and a pleasing range of women-centred movies that are around at the moment. I also have a bunch of new music to listen to and should read some new books. How about you?

21 thoughts on Oh No It’s Award Season Again Thread

  1. Thank you for bringing The Dressmaker to our attention! Looks like a film we would like to see, if we can (have not seen it available in theatres in Canada, but sometimes pay-per-view will come through).

    For women-centred films we’ve recently see Carol and Brooklyn, but those are getting lots of notice. But we’re always on the lookout.

  2. Would this be an appropriate place to also mention Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee’s protesting of the Oscars because of the lack of nominated POC? I think it’s a good bit of activism and hope it gets more notice.

    Otherwise… unless it’s a superhero movie or Star Wars, I probably haven’t seen it 🙁 (I’m actually surprisingly embarrassed by how out of touch I am with current cinema)!

  3. The Dressmaker will be released theatrically in the US and Canada in 2016. An announcement of the date will be made very soon and we cant wait for audiences there to see the film!
    Sue Maslin, Producer

  4. I think Spike and Jada have a point and is why I won’t be watching the Oscars. Creed and Straight Outta Compton were two of the best movies of the year, and only one nomination for each?

    It genuinely feels like they did everything they could not to nominate them. The whole thing is rather strange.

  5. I have a huge problem with the entire conversation, because it’s so centered on the black/white dynamic that it totally erases the reality of the situation. Historically, black people have won almost exactly an equitable number of Oscars, based on their percentage of the total population. Meanwhile, Asian and Latino actors have been massively overlooked.

    So no, I don’t support Jada or Spike Lee, because they’re both factually wrong and bad allies to the genuine victims here.

    1. What? This site suggests there have only been 13 black actors that have one for the top 4 categories since 1939 (Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress). That’s 76 years, which means there have been 304 winners (assuming there was no gap in the awards, which I admittedly don’t know). That’s 4.3%. The census says that black people are 13.2% of the population. That’s not close to parity at all.

      1. Yep, you can definitely come to a different conclusion if you only count certain types of Oscars. But overall, black actors are represented roughly at population equity, and Latino and Asian actors are not.

        That doesn’t mean anti-black racism in Hollywood isn’t real, or that there isn’t massive under-representation of black people in certain roles or jobs (directors are overwhelmingly white, for example). It’s just that I find the typical American framing of every racial issues as black v. white particularly pernicious in this case.

        Source for claims:

      2. Ludlow, you and PrettyAmiable are looking at the same award categories (acting awards) but the Economist data is only looking at since the year 2000, whereas PrettyAmiable is looking at the whole history of the awards. So historically, black actors have been overlooked. And I’ve seen Jada Pinkett-Smith and others talk about the lack of minorities and people of colour, not just black people.

      3. Oh! Thanks Becky. I kept meaning to come back to this because I couldn’t figure out the discrepancy.

        Ludlow, totally agree that there are other groups you’ve highlighted are overlooked. This reminds me of feminism – how activism in the broader feminist community hasn’t been great about recognizing intersectional issues. I don’t think there’s anything wrong about Pinkett Smith and Lee’s activism, especially if they are concerned about Hollywood regressing, but you’re absolutely right that we’re overlooking other marginalized populations.

    2. You don’t think this year’s nominations were a bit fishy? Ryan Coogler, Will Smith, Michael B. Jordan and F. Gary Gray all excluded? It makes no sense.

  6. When my brothers and sisters stop getting murdered in the streets by pigs in blue uniforms, i might begin to care about a damn awards show. This is white and class privilege at its worst. For all intents and purposes, will smith and co ARE white.

      1. Totally agree regarding Spike Lee. I anticipated the “we can care about both at the same time” rebuttal, and while I don’t for one second doubt your sincerity, I have to disagree. The problem is that we’re talking about a zero sum game. My time, energy, resources, bandwidth, emotional capacity, even the things I can think about during my waking hours, are all finite. Attending a protest or sending a series of tweets here means I didn’t there. Even thinking about one thing comes at the expense of another. If all issues and oppressions are created equal then no harm no foul. If not, there’s a problem.

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