Arts & Entertainment, Film and TV, Pop Rhetoric

The Academy still hates women

There was a moving moment during the 90th Academy Awards where Ashley Judd, Salma Hayek, and Annabella Sciorra stood onstage to deliver a message. Their connection? All have accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct. In a year of watershed moments for transparency and accountability, the #MeToo and #TIMESUP movements have ascended, guided by the voices of survivors like Judd and Hayek, allowing for discourse on abuses of power and privilege in Hollywood. As these four women stood onstage at the Dolby Theatre, a short montage highlighted meaningful advances in representation and equity in the film industry. Yet, when it came down to the moments that matter—to the envelopes and the hardware—the Academy failed to stand for the beliefs it claimed to exemplify. Kobe Bryant, accused of rape in 2003, and Gary Oldman, a known Mel Gibson defender who was accused of beating his ex-wife Donya Fiorentino in front of their two children in 2001, both walked away with statues. The Academy showed that it remains as hypocritical and self-congratulatory as ever.

It’s no secret that the Academy awards abusers. From Casey Affleck, to Roman Polanski, to Woody Allen, if you’re a straight white man, and you make an acclaimed movie, the Academy is willing to forgive you for any number of past crimes. After the Year Of Weinstein, and the turning tide against abusive men in power, there was hope that the cultural zeitgeist could seriously affect the awards circuit. To a certain extent, it did—James Franco was left off of the Oscar ballot after sexual misconduct allegations from five women emerged, and Weinstein was expelled from the Academy. Still, Bryant and Oldman won Best Animated Short Film and Best Actor in a Leading Role, respectively.

What makes these men immune to the fates that have befallen Weinstein and Franco? Why are they, alongside Affleck and Allen, who continues to work in Hollywood after decades of abuse allegations by his former step-daughter Dylan Farrow, exempt from the same exclusion and public shaming? The Academy can pat its own back for kicking out Weinstein, but silently ignore the fact that he remained on the Academy for years, continuing to abuse women with no consequence. The small segment devoted to the #MeToo movement—a fraction of the screen time devoted to the War Movie Appreciation montage, or the more general Movie Appreciation montage—sought to cover up the fact that at the end of the day, the Academy cares about its members’ behaviour only to the extent that it affects ticket sales. The Academy selectively chooses who is culpable, co-opting activism to appease the general public.

In the opening monologue, human carpet bag Jimmy Kimmel quipped “But what happened with Harvey, and what’s happening all over, was long overdue. We can’t let bad behaviour slide anymore. The world is watching us. We need to set an example.” What example is that? That feminism is only useful to increase revenue and save the face of an outdated and out-of-touch organization? During Hollywood’s most important night of the year, the Academy had the chance to provide a platform for the under-represented. Instead, two known abusers walked off the stage carrying statuettes.

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  1. Nancy Cassady

    Gary Oldman’s own son said the abuse allegation NEVER HAPPENED! He posted that last week, and he was there when it supposedly happened! It didn’t happen. Try and keep up, shall we? IT NEVER HAPPENED!!! How about a retraction?

    • Saint Emerance

      He was accused; that is true. The Tribune has nothing to retract, because they did not say more than that.

      Otherwise, you are correct that his son, who is more-or-less estranged from his mother backs him up. And calls him his hero, no less. Let’s look at his son’s hero.

      From Vox:

      “Oldman defended Mel Gibson for his infamous anti-Semitic tirade (“We’ve all said those things. … The policeman who arrested him has never used the word ‘ni**er’ or ‘that fucking Jew’?”), lamented that Hollywood had become so politically correct that he could no longer call Nancy Pelosi “a fucking useless cunt” with impunity, and declared that the reason 12 Years a Slave won the Oscar for Best Picture is that people were afraid that if they didn’t vote for it, they would be considered racist.”

      Imagine, living with a man who is sad that he can no longer call a woman a c**t, and defending him as your hero. The son definitely seems like a swell fellow, with an ethical compass we need not question.

      • Nancy Cassady

        Gary admitted on Kimmel that same year that he was very VERY out of line in that interview and was more than sorry. Check it out on Youtube.
        It was very heartfelt and I totally believe he was extremely contrite. We all make mistakes, and so did Gary, but abusing his wife was not one of them. He’s been crucified enough over something that never happened, and apologetic to the extreme over something that did. What else can he do? I adore this man. I just want to revel in his long overdo Oscar moment that I thought would never happen. Can we? Please?

        • Saint Emerance

          Why? I don’t know him or care about his success. I don’t especially care that he was sorry he said those things: he apparently thought it was ok to vocalize and justify them to a journalist when he was not under duress and did not believe it would cause repercussions, and apologized after it did have repercussions. All else being equal, one statement is inherently more likely to reflect his true feelings than the other. And I have managed to go my whole life without making the mistake of calling anyone a c**t, n**ger or use the word Jew in a pejorative manner. His “mistake” was to say what he thought.
          Hero worship who you like. No one else is obliged to cater to you. If you do not want to read that Gary Oldman is an accused wife-beater and apparently a multi-valent bigot, than I would suggest you not read articles about Gary Oldman.

          • I’ve read hundreds. Didn’t change a thing about how I feel about him. Everyone who has ever worked with or for him describes him as a genuinely kind gentleman. That’s good enough for me.

            You have way too much hatred in your heart for a man you don’t even know. I won’t be responding again. Have a nice day. Goodbye.

          • You have too much love in your heart for someone you don’t even know. See how much sense that makes? Anyway, I don’t hate people; love the sinner, hate the sin and all that.

          • “You have too much love in your heart for someone you don’t even know.”
            And I’m a much happier person for it.

          • Yes, you seem happy, seeking out arguments with strangers to defend a celebrity who’s continue unchanged no matter how this conversation resolves itself. In my experience, the purest love always demands arguing with people that don’t share your love.

          • It’s “whose”, not “who’s”.
            Whatever you say.

          • “A balanced soul finds its truest express through punctiliousness over grammar in Disqus comments” – Jesus.

            “We all make mistakes” – Nancy Cassady

          • “Expression”, not “express”.

            It’s not grammar, it’s spelling.

            Whatever you say.

          • It’s actually usage, not spelling.

          • No, it’s spelling. Your usage was correct, just not the spelling. Isn’t this fun?

          • “Expression” and “express” are different words. I wrote express, tweaked another part of the sentence, and did not change express. Ergo I spelled it correctly, but ended up using it incorrectly. “Who’s” also was spelled correctly, but I used it incorrectly, because this is Disqus and you are clearly intelligent enough to understand my meening even wen words write i do wrong.

            Happee, luving peeple are famus four how petty they are.

          • You were doing fine until that last nasty sentence.

          • Goodbye again? Shame, because I am genuinely curious how someone could sign off on a comment that otherwise contained only pointless and unsolicited copy-editing with “whatever you say” (translate it into Latin and it would be the battle-cry of the passive aggressive) and *not* be able to take petty as fair criticism.

            It is a genuine shame I won’t get an answer, as I’m pretty sure that it’s the *second* goodbye that is traditionally the sincere one for happy people. Farewell, Nancy!

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