January 15, 2016

"I agree that Sylvester Stallone gave a hearty, worldly-wise performance as the aged Rocky Balboa..."

"... and thought that he’d be one of the few intersections between my own year-end picks and the nominations. But the Academy’s choice of no one but Stallone to represent 'Creed' at the awards—no [Michael B.] Jordan and no Ryan Coogler, who wrote and directed it, and, for that matter, no Maryse Alberti, whose distinctively agile cinematography is integral to the movie’s emotional impact—is a grotesque distortion of the viewing experience. It’s a distortion that, in effect, filters out the blackness from Coogler’s remarkable drama about the modes and ironies of black American experience and reduces the film to 'Rocky 7.' That distortion says much about the Academy—much that the Academy wouldn’t like to acknowledge about itself."

Writes Richard Brody at The New Yorker in "The Baffling 2016 Oscar Nominees."

21 comments:

Chris N said...

Or maybe it's more a function of the old gala/circle-jerk/promo nature of the Oscars' ceremonies rewarding an old guy who's been around for decades. Otherwise, the film might not have gotten a nod at all.

There's something very funny to me about picturing art snobs and cultural critics going to a New Black Panthers meet-up.

Or maybe Brody ain't getting the pageviews lately, and is trying to play a new angle.

Poor guy's probably just a lughead from the streets of Philly, punching slabs of meat with only a dream in his heart.

Expat(ish) said...

I don't even think I could reliably explain what he meant by what he said, though I think I understood what he was trying to convey.

Reminds me of reading the Rime of the Ancient Mariner. Slippery.

-XC

FullMoon said...

Maryse Alberti, whose distinctively agile cinematography

Is "agile" a euphemism for good, or for bad?

It’s ...... Coogler’s remarkable drama about the modes and ironies of black American experience

Thanks for the heads up! I almost bought a ticket.

mccullough said...

As white as Hollyood is, the New Yorker is even whiter.

AReasonableMan said...

Hollywood has always been quite racist, blacks are disproportionately given bad guy roles, except when the bad guy is the hero. This constant drumbeat of negative images of blacks makes a modest contribution to racism in the society as a whole. This is not exactly news.

Roughcoat said...

blacks are disproportionately given bad guy roles

Since when?

Ever heard of the "Magical Negro" phenomenon?

Or the "happy darkie" characters that typified the portrayals of blacks in the 1930-40s?

Or the phenomenon of what seems practically every cop show having black chiefs and judges, and every hospital show having black chief surgeons?

You're wrong. If anything, blacks are disproportionately given good guy and leaderships roles. So much so, that it's actually refreshing to see blacks in bad guy roles.

Quaestor said...

blacks are disproportionately given bad guy roles

Since when?

Now, now, Roughcast, be nice... ARM can't help it. He saw "Birth of a Nation" back when it was a first-run, and hasn't been to the movies since Louis Mayer (that perfidious Israelite!) scotched the nickel matinee.

Quaestor said...

But seriously folks...

ARM is so consistently off kilter, intellectually, speaking that I sometimes I suspect he's some kind of deviously clever propaganda sock puppet designed to make us underestimate the opposition.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Blogger AReasonableMan said...
Hollywood has always been quite racist, blacks are disproportionately given bad guy roles, except when the bad guy is the hero. This constant drumbeat of negative images of blacks makes a modest contribution to racism in the society as a whole. This is not exactly news.


I know, those racist Hollywood liberals really irk me too, ARM.
I'm not at all sure you're correct w/r/t the type of person given "bad guy" roles in the last two decades or so, though...it seems like the REAL bad guy is usually some white guy, corporation, white Eastern European, right-wing/neoNazi conspiracy group, or Western (white, really) government.
It's might be true, though, that black actors are over represented (compared to their % of the population) in different given roles (hero, villain, comic relief), but I'm not sure you can really call that racist as such.

Quaestor said...

A still from the disappointing "Airplane II: The Sequel!" Sonny Bono's character is trying to buy a time bomb in the spaceport gift shop; notice the lobby card behind him.

Bob Ellison said...

The bad-guy roles go to folks like Alan Rickman.

Ever since To Kill a Mockingbird, you can't give a bad-guy role to a black man.

That problem is what made Precious so controversial.

Bob Ellison said...

The new Star Wars movie startled me because it portrayed the black guy as a bit of a two-faced coward at the beginning. Very non-PC. The writers must have awakened about half-way through the script, because they decided to make him into a hero at that point. Suddenly Mr. I'm Afraid becomes Mr. I'll Go Through Hell to Save My Lady.

But not enough to actually have sex with the white girl. That would've been going to far. Wouldn't have gone down well with audiences of any color.

Roughcoat said...


Wouldn't have gone down well with audiences of any color.

Especially foreign audiences. Because most of the rest of the world is racist, much more than Americans. Most Americans have no problem with portrayals of interracial relationships: we see it all the time on TV and in movies.

Roughcoat said...

it seems like the REAL bad guy is usually some white guy, corporation, white Eastern European, right-wing/neoNazi conspiracy group, or Western (white, really) government.

Don't forget Afrikaaners. There was a period some years ago when white South Africans of Dutch descent were frequently deployed as movie villains: mercenaries and Dr. Evil types. "Blood Diamond" is, I think, the most recent example. Also "The Sum of All Fears." Then the white-supremacist regime fell and the Afrikaaner villain faded from view. For awhile the Serbs were in bad odor but the end of the Balkan conflicts nixed that trope as well.

holdfast said...

@Roughcoat - you forgot Lethal Weapon II.

@Bob - He wasn't a coward. He just had a conscience and didn't want to slaughter innocent civvies.

David said...

The secret ballot can be very revealing.

Alex said...

Interesting that the first black actor to win Best Actor was Denzel Washington in 2001 for "Training Day" where he plays the villain, albeit complex. Honestly I thought his turn in "American Gangster" was far more deserving.

JAORE said...

Those viewers who concern themselves with these issues should give a movie five minutes of grace time viewing. Should the movie be insufficiently diverse, or (horrors) inappropriately diverse (Oh gawd, Star-Dawn, the villain is a person of COLOR!), they should walk out.

I strongly suspect they constitute the majority of those that talk and use their cell phones during the presentation. It would improve my enjoyment of the movie immensely.

Mark said...

Remember Selma. To hear the Hollywood Academy types last year, the hero of the civil rights movement was LBJ.

jr565 said...

The oscars are based on merit. Who put out the best performance of the year. So, if no blacks put out the BEST performances of the year, what is the remedy? A quota system?
What actors who are black had a performance this year that would be considered the best of the year? I can't think of any.

I'd love to say Hollywood is racist, and it may well be racist in other ways. But that's a different conversation.
There is only equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome. So, the pool of nominees is based on who acted the best this year. There's a lot of politics going on in these nominations, and some people get nominated for it beaus they were denied previously.

So, if there was a black actor who should be here instead, who is it and who should be taken off?

Char Char Binks said...

It's racist not to give blacks everything they want, every time they want it.