Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Two Rants

I don't usually take out entire blog posts to express my grievances, but today there's a pair of things that have really gotten to me. I've already gone off on one of these things on Twitter (in true Kevin Smith style), but I feel the need to expound on it. The other I think I've mentioned before, but thanks to CNN, I really want to go into it again.
First off: Harvey Weinstein is reportedly considering editing the language out of The King's Speech to secure a PG-13 (maybe even a PG) rating (its currently rated R) so that the film can experience greater financial success to go with its 12 Oscar nominations. This is the same Harvey Weinstein who very publicly fought the MPAA over Blue Valentine's NC-17 rating, saying that that rating was too extreme (apparently, unhappy sex is too much for America's audiences), and won his case, with the rating being repealed to an R. I don't think Weinstein realizes how damaging this would be to the film. The scene in question comes when Bertie (Colin Firth) is in a session with Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush). Logue is trying to force Bertie to stop stammering by raising his ire, which results in Bertie letting loose a string of F-bombs (I believe its around 18). Weinstein's plan is to cut this scene altogether, most likely. And in doing that he's going to gut the film of a crucial character moment, one that reveals a part of Bertie that was previously unknown. In this moment we as the audience get to see the pent-up rage inside of Bertie, held back by his stammer and by everyone in his (royal) family. He's angry because he doesn't have a voice of his own. If this scene were to be removed from the film, or changed in any way, the emotional impact of that realization would be dramatically reduced. It would not only be a massive blow to the film's power, but also to the strength of Firth's performance. If Weinstein wants The King's Speech to win Oscars, he shouldn't compromise the film for financial success. The film is already doing well, and with the fact that the film has more nominations than any other film and that there's backlash against The Social Network, he should just let it speak for itself. There's no need to butcher a truly great film.
Now, on to CNN: today as their "cover story" they examined this year's Oscar nominations and wondered where all the diversity went. Which I knew was going to happen after last year's nominations were unusually diverse, featuring a woman director winning (as well as a black director) and plenty of non-white acting nominees. Look, I know the Oscars aren't really a meritocracy, but come on: the merit/quality of a performance does play a major factor in the nomination (that's why you haven't seen any Twilight nominations). And the awful fact of the matter is that, especially when it comes to directors, there just aren't nearly as many minorities in Hollywood. Just because a woman won Best Director last year doesn't mean they're going to set aside one slot every year for a woman just to appease people. And this year, the acting performances that grabbed the most attention just happened to be white. In fact, in modern times, acting nominations this white are actually quite rare. But I cannot stand the fact that everyone now expects every year to be as diverse last year. Its ridiculous that we even have to discuss this. Its an awards show, people, not a cross-section of who lives in America. A woman didn't get nominated for Best Director this year? Guess what: there's 79 other Oscar ceremonies that lacked a woman nominee. Just because this year isn't diverse doesn't mean there's some sort of regression in Hollywood. There's actually more minorities in Hollywood now than ever before, and over time I believe we'll see plenty of talented people of all races, sexes, creeds, what-have-you earn Oscar nominations. Its not the end of the world.
Thanks for listening. You may now resume your daily lives.

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