The 2018 Academy Award nominations were recently announced. I found the category of Best Actor to have a significant oversight.
Ever since seeing the movie The Disaster Artist, I have stated that James Franco should win the Best Actor Oscar for his performance as real-life oddity Tommy Wiseau. As related in the movie, Wiseau is the writer, director, producer, and star of the film The Room – what is widely regarded as the worst movie ever made.
When the 2018 Oscar nominations were announced, James Franco was not among them. I find this to be a travesty.
I knew nothing of The Room or Tommy Wiseau before seeing The Disaster Artist. My almost 13-year-old wanted us to see the movie, so we did. I was floored by Franco’s bizarre characterization. It was pure art.
After seeing The Disaster Artist, I did some research on Tommy Wiseau and watched The Room in its entirety. My respect for Franco’s performance in The Disaster Artist only grew.
The last time I was so disenchanted with an oversight by the nominating committee for the Academy Awards was in the case of the 2004 feature The Passion of the Christ. I thought it was hands down the best film of the year, yet it wasn’t even nominated.
In both cases, there is significant probability that politics came into play.
The Passion of the Christ was the baby of writer-director Mel Gibson – who is alleged to be a racist. I can’t say that I agree with a Gibson’s politics or other mindsets, but the movie was amazing and deserved the title of Best Picture.
Franco has been in the media as of late, accused of sexual misconduct. Prior to the sexual misconduct allegations, Franco won a Golden Globe award for his performance in The Disaster Artist. It could very well be that it is Franco’s current image problems stemming from the sexual misconduct allegations that led to his being left out of the Oscar field of nominees.
It raises an interesting question. Should the politics, religious views, and allegations against one be considered in whether one’s art is good or not?
I do not condone racist statements that Gibson has been heard saying in police recordings. Nor, do I condone sexual misconduct by any person – James Franco or otherwise.
The fact is I was molested twice as a child and in my very early adult years was propositioned by a junior executive at CBS television that if I slept with him he would reward me with the acting roles that would make me a star. I declined, and I can’t even begin to tell you the affect it had on my career. People with power shouldn’t be allowed to demand sexual favors for career advancement, but the sad case is some do.
I fully support women and men who come out to name their abusers. It takes bravery and the outcome isn’t always guaranteed. Just look at the 20 women who have come forward about the sexual abuse they endured at the hands of Donald Trump – a man who has openly bragged about committing sexual assault. Nothing happened to Trump. When you’re powerful, you can get away with almost anything.
But the question remains: should one’s personal baggage be considered when evaluating whether their art is good or not?
Me? I would give the Oscars to Gibson and Franco.
If an awards program takes the stand of calling itself the judge of what is “the best” then it should openly consider all contenders regardless of the reputation of the creator.
Peace. Love. Trust.