Christopher Nolan isn't an Oscar-winner. He's been nominated, but he's never won.
I understand Lulu Wang's point, and I understand that her goal is to open doors for BIPOC artists to tell their stories.
But, at the same time, she's saying Bernardo Bertolucci (Italian) shouldn't have helmed 'The Last Emperor', or Craig Brewer (white) shouldn't have helmed 'Dolemite is My Name' and 'Hustle & Flow,' or that Ryan Coogler or Barry Jenkins (both black) couldn't possibly have directed films like, say, 'Fried Green Tomatoes,' or 'Terms of Endearment.'
Lulu Wang's goal here is a noble one. But, I don't agree that the color of your skin, or the culture you grew up in, keeps you from being a thoughtful observer of a culture you may not have grown up in.
All this being said, is Ron Howard right for the story? I think instead of looking at his skin and cultural background, we should be looking at his filmmaking sensibility. Howard is very mainstream and accessible -- and occasionally watered-down to achieve said accessibility. Does this suit the story? I can't say. But, that's what people should be looking at. Based on what I know of the story, and the grit and realism it may require, I'd prefer a different director. Let's think: John Woo is Chinese -- but is his sensibility right for the story? Ang Lee, maybe? He could shoot it at 120fps so no one will want to watch it. Wong Kar-wai has the sensibility, for sure, but would he want to do it? Even Lulu Wang herself said she isn't interested in telling the story.
Point is, there are more factors at work than, "Ron Howard is white and therefor can't possibly tell this story." I am all for diversity in casts and crews, and the new diversity requirements AMPAS will be putting in place for Best Picture requirements are a great start. But, presuming any given filmmaker can't tell any given story well, based solely on their culture and skin color, is absurd, because it pigeonholes filmmakers into telling specific stories, rather than any given story they might find interesting.
Interesting story: it wasn't Demme's idea to have Lecter standing in the middle of the room when he first meets Clarice -- it was Hopkins'. Demme asked Hopkins, "Where do you want to be?" Hopkins replied, "Standing in the middle of the room, waiting for her." Demme questioned this, "How do you know she's coming?" Hopkins replied, "Because I can smell her."
The story is in the making-of documentary on one of the original DVDs, I believe.
First, you are probably right about all you’ve written here. But, there are questions and comments that remain:
1. Based solely on the trailer, it’s clear the movie seems to be about “good” white people vs “bad” people of color. But, how do we know that paradigm is consistent throughout? It may very well be the case. But, hard to condemn without seeing it.
2. Mel Gibson has said a lot of horrible shit. But, at what point do we allow a person to change and atone? Our culture is always very quick condemn, but rarely willing to give a person the chance to change for the better. I’m not saying Mel Gibson has changed. I’m asking when do we allow a person to do so, and accept that they have?
3. Hollywood isn’t a business. It’s part of a larger industry. It’s also an obsolete part of the industry in the eyes of thoughtful people, because Hollywood films are not a representation of our culture, and has struggled to change with the times. Superhero schlock and pointless action flicks don’t exist to the change the world — even when they masquerade as if they do.
4. The idea that “Hollywood” doesn’t care about #blacklivesmatter is kind of ridiculous. What you mean is: Hollywood *Studios* don’t care about #blacklivesmatter. Individual actors, directors, and crew that make up Hollywood, I’m sure, care greatly about the movement, and would take umbrage with your comment.
5. I think the greater point here is to stop giving a shit about what Hollywood studios produce. Stop writing about it. They are an ever-shrinking appendage of a much larger body of filmmaking. We all know they suck, we all know its films tend to have a narrow world-view, and that they are an inaccurate (at best) reflection of our culture.
6. Instead, how about an official article series that brings to your readers interviews with filmmakers of color? Or articles that suggest, discuss, and analyze films that *try* to be a reflection of our culture? I’d rather read articles that expose me to new voices, or unheard voices, instead of articles that preach the obvious.
7. Some of the commenters on this thread have implied, or outright questioned, the validity of #blacklivesmatter. Some have referred to being “woke” as if it were a bad thing. To those commenters: You need to listen better. Stop being defensive and just listen. If you can’t do that, and find yourself arguing against #blacklivesmatter, and condemning people for wanting to change, you’re just another thoughtless part of the problem.
I know this is anti-progressive to say, but: this is really stupid. At a time when people are losing connections to each other, implying that we could/should make connections with a fake person seems like the worst idea one can conjure. Where is Hayao Miyazaki to make these people cry? To quote him, "I strongly feel that this is an insult to life itself."
I'm sick of the word "snub." It implies the Academy votes as a committee, which implies conspiracy, when they actually vote as individuals on secret ballots.
"Snub" also removes any element of subjectivity or objectivity by implying specific people are deserving of awards simply because they directed or starred in a film in a given year.
Awards should be based on merit and quality, and nothing more. For the last decade, every major motion picture award has been injected with controversy, and it has led to a lot of shitty nominations and wins. The only films that have won Best Picture since 2010 that have any real merit are Moonlight and Spotlight. I'd argue for King's Speech, just because it works so well and the material was approached with a unique lens -- but I won't include it.
Point is, "snub" is a pointless and childish way to deal with not getting recognition. No one "deserves" anything. And saying someone does deserve recognition simply because they did a thing is not only obnoxious, it's condescending to that person, and cheapens the merit of the award itself. It's like patting someone on the head and saying, "Aww, look what you did!"
The other thing is the selective rage and backlash. Gerwig doesn't get a nod, and everyone is outraged. Eddie Murphy doesn't get a nod, and no one cares.