Monday, January 13, 2020

The Sexist Case Against Tarantino, Pitt, and Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood


I generally don't have strong opinions on what pictures should receive Academy Awards. And I confess myself shocked -- shocked! -- that a movie with its plot and theme situated in, and clearly in love with, the movie industry would enjoy a lot of mojo with Oscar voters, who just happen make their livings in the movie industry.

That said, I do consider Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood to be, by far, the best 2020 film I happened to watch in 2020,  and think it deserves every award it nabs.

Comes Marlow Stern, Senior Entertainment Editor at The Daily Beast, asserting that the film has a "Big Harvey Weinstein Problem."

And what, pray tell, might that problem be?

[S]omehow, the celebrated filmmaker and his age-defying star have managed to avoid any scrutiny over their troubling relationships with Harvey Weinstein. ... a culture of complicity allowed the superpredator’s reign of terror to continue unabated. ... Pitt, like Tarantino, had the power and cachet to expose Weinstein with the snap of a finger. Instead, they let it slide, opting for cashing dirty checks and chasing awards. ... it’s worth asking whether it sends the right message to honor two Hollywood power players who turned a blind eye to Weinstein’s sexual abuse, and whether it’s fair that they’ve artfully dodged any questions about it this entire awards season.

So, director Quentin Tarantino and co-star Brad Pitt had good reason to know that Weinstein was at best a creep and quite possibly an actual rapist. Yet they kept their mouths shut and cashed his checks for years, if for no other reason than that they feared the damage he could do their careers if they publicly went after him.

Just like most of Weinstein's accusers.

Stern's brief against Tarantino and Pitt is that they were obliged -- as males -- to suit up in their white knight armor and publicly joust Weinstein on behalf of his poor, helpless, female victims, whose corresponding duty was, apparently, to daintily wave handkerchiefs and blow kisses from the viewing stands before retiring to their fainting couches. And, further, that they should be punished in the awards arena for not fulfilling that duty.

If not bucking Weinstein until it became safe to buck Weinstein is an Oscar disqualifier, it should be a disqualifier across sex/gender lines and the Academy should probably just cancel the ceremony and FedEx all this years' statues to Rose McGowan.

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