Bait Taken — Golden Globe nominations

ger and peele
Thanks, Vanity Fair, for providing the ideal picture for today.

There are many building blocks of the internet, but the cornerstones are think pieces, offhand lists, and other hollow provocations meant to stir arguments and, therefore, briefly redirect web traffic. Engaging such material is utterly pointless. Then again, it’s not like I have anything better to do.

As preface, it’s important to note that the Golden Globes, for an awfully long time, have hovered somewhere between joke and embarrassment. I’m not even referring to their most egregious sins, such as the notorious bestowing of the Best New Star trophy to Pia Zadora in the early nineteen-eighties. It was just a few years ago that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association showered nominations upon dud The Tourist in a transparent effort to add the star power of Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp to the red carpet. The same year, they found it in their hearts to also toss three nominations in the direction of instant camp disaster Burlesque. Hell, just last year, the Golden Globes were one of the few awards-giving bodies that felt Mahershala Ali was no better than a runner-up in the Best Supporting Actor category, instead lauding the hammy nonsense of Aaron Taylor-Johnson in Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals.

Despite my perpetually lowered expectations, today’s Golden Globe nominations contain a few omissions that strike me as especially grievous. indicative of a bias far more troubling than the organization’s usual propensity for questionable star worship. Further acknowledging that our culture’s extended #metoo moment can grease up the slope sufficiently to make instances of misogyny — and other bigotry — appear when there’s other shortsightedness at play, it’s difficult to see certain omissions on the nominee list as anything other than outdated power structure complacency. In particular, the fact that the quintet of nominated directors includes five males, ranging in age from 47 to 80, is perplexing given that 34-year-old woman is behind the best-reviewed film of the season.

The other notable absentee director is Jordan Peele, whose Get Out is arguably 2017’s signature film. While there was some controversy around the title that the filmmaker himself categorizes as a social thriller being submitted to the Golden Globes as a comedy, the simplest (and most dismaying) explanation is an aversion to the film’s challenging content around race. Similarly, the absence of The Big Sick from categories in which it should be a shoo-in (because why divide the film awards in to separate sets of comedy and drama categories if not to make room for something like the The Big Sick) seems fishy, most easily chalked up as a weird discomfort around cultural difference within U.S. cinema. I can certainly conjure up benign explanations for these various snubs, based on my overly-studied knowledge of the ebbs and flows of Oscar season, but I find those absolving theories less convincing than the possible influence of sickening prejudice. These are exactly the sort of buzzy films and creators the Golden Globes usually salivate over.

There’s enough diversity to be found elsewhere in the nominations to mount a counterargument to my consternation. That’s true. I acknowledge that. But I also stand by my simmering outrage and my mounting worry that we are about to see gifted filmmakers obscured from the this page in the cinematic history book because priority is given to familiar men, despite the little fact that women filmmakers are responsible for two of the most impactful movies of the year, despite the emergence of unique creators offering strikingly new perspectives.

Academy Awards, please do better.


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