Monday, April 16, 2007

The Brokeback Mountain Controvoursey

Last year, Brokeback Mountain lost the academy award in what many imagine to have been a close vote against the film Crash. I was personally rooting for Munich or the snubbed Constant Gardener. Many in the gay community has protested that it was some sort of a discrimination, which I would disagree to.

I personally think that for those championing gay rights, going after the academy's decision to vote against Brokeback Mountain would be one of the lowest of your priorities. If you want to prevent gay discrimination, why don't you go target Southern Baptist Churches, KKK rallies, frat culture, sports organizations, and other organizations that are truly discriminating against you. That's all I'm saying. I really don't see the point in going after the Academy or the film industry because they are not discriminatory, at least not on a level that's worth worrying about. That is purely based on what I see, and if I am incorrect, I don't mind being corrected.

Voting for Brokeback Mountain for best picture does not conclusively constitute discrimination. I personally don't see discrimination on any major level going on in Hollywood. Feel free to correct me, by the way. I'm throwing out my views and seeing if anyone disagrees. For one thing, there is practically no one in Hollywood who wouldn't work with gay directors like Bryan Singer, Joel Schumaker, and Bill Condon nor does it appear that anyone is expressing concern for working with Ian McKellan. There might be an occasional homophobe, for all we know, but I think the concern with discrimination like in the old days would be that "being gay keeps you from getting work," which really isn't the case. I even imagine that a straight guy would even start to feel a sense of isolation and discomfort working on Broadway although hopefully not discrimination.

Secondly, if you're worried about actual awards discrimination, playing gay (or bi or transsexual) gives you a humongous edge when it comes to the Oscars. Off the top of my head: 2006: Judi Dench, Notes on a Scandal
2005: Felicity Huffman, Transamerica Jake Gyllenhall, Brokeback Mountain Heath Ledger, Brokeback Mountain Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Capote
2003: Charlize Theron, Monster
2002: Selma Hayek, Frida Ed Harris, The Hours
2000: Javier Bardem, Before Night Falls Geoffery Rush, Quills
1999: Hillary Swank, Boys Don't Cry Chlose Severeigny, Boys Don't Cry
1997: Greg Kinnear, As Good as It Gets

I don't believe in all these cases that the awards are deserved but it is common knowledge that "going gay" for a role is a way to get noticed and earn or get nominated for an oscar or an oscar nom. This is the academy's way of saying: we are accepting of your choice of lifestyle and we wish to help you tell your story. One can look at Matt Damon's miss for Talented Mr. Ripley or Cillian Murphy for Breakfast on Pluto, but those guys came close and they were encouraged to do those roles because, among other reasons, they were oscar bait and that's because of the pro-gay culture the Oscars have created, so I think the academy has done a lot to advance the image of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered individuals, way more so than it has done for other minorities like Blacks and Asians who continue to get relegated to martial arts movies and really, really bad films (I couldn't think of a word or phrase for the kind of movies that black people are forced to do).

As for Brokeback Mountain, it did get nominated and won three awards including director which basically means it was number 2 for the year and I'd call that very good. MAYBE, just maybe, it didn't win because people were turned off by the material, but there's no way of knowing that. I think you'd have racial activists rightfully thinking that their cause was discriminated against because the voters chose to appease gay advocates by voting for Brokeback Mountain, rather than for the better movie.

I do agree with one thing, though: if people went on record (Ernest Borgnine and Tony Curtis) as saying they haven't seen the film, than I don't think they should be aloud to vote and that might be part of the controversy.

No comments: