Our choices are illuminating. This is true on a personal level, as well as collectively. Since the height of the #MeToo movement some are under the impression that things are changing in Hollywood. Last night’s big Oscar winners are more evidence that very little has changed in Movieland.
The Oscar for Best Picture went to Green Book, a story about two men, in which women, for the most part, are simply part of the background. This was not the first time the Academy chose a story about two men (e.g. The King’s Speech, Rain Man, Midnight Cowboy)—or stories practically devoid of women (e.g. The Hurt Locker, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Platoon, Patton, Lawrence of Arabia).
The Oscar for Best Actor was awarded to a man who plays a superstar, while the Oscar for Best Actress was awarded to a woman who appears in a very unflattering light. Indeed, Olivia Colman is humiliated and demeaned throughout The Favourite. Her character is dim and self-absorbed. She eats cake immediately after throwing up the cake she has just eaten. She has tantrums and lies on the floor crying. She falls on her face in parliament. She even falls out of bed. This is hardly a flattering portrait of a world leader. Rami Malek, on the other hand, is portrayed as a creative genius and is adored and applauded by huge crowds.
The Oscars awarded are telling of what the Academy likes to see, the type of stories its members are interested in, as well as the way they like to see women and men. Like I said, very little has changed in Movieland.
© 2019 Alline Cormier