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February 07, 2005

Comments

emmy

"gain tremendous amounts of weight"

Why do you think they "made" a thin actress play these parts instead of casting an actress who was already "weighty"?

Hugo Schwyzer

Well, in the case of Charlize Theron and "Monster", it was clearly a huge marketing boon for the film to have a recognizably lovely woman undergo such a metamorphosis. That sold more tickets. Though Theron is a wonderful actress, I think there was some cynicism in the casting.

aj

"It doesn't seem enough for a woman, particularly a young and "beautiful" one to merely "act" -- she must strip off her clothes, gain tremendous amounts of weight, wear prosthetics, and endure tremendous physical abuse, usually at the hands of men."

Well... to be fair, look at the "Best Actor" nominations from the a couple of years ago. Jack Nicholson (who is old and merely acted) lost to Adrien Brody who was young and had to undergo "tremendous physical abuse". Yet that same year, Catherine Zeta-Jones won her oscar for "merely acting" (and singing and dancing).

Also, Hugo, you make it sound like women were made to be elephants. Just WHO exactly gained "tremendous amounts of weight" ? Neither Theron nor Zelleweger were tremendously overwieght... not by realistic standards anyway.

Hugo Schwyzer

No, but they gained significant weight to play the parts they did. What I am objecting to is that the requirements for Oscar seem to involve physical metamorphosis more often for women than for men.

Zeta-Jones gave us plenty of skin in "Chicago."

emmy

"Zeta-Jones gave us plenty of skin in "Chicago.""

A poor example... as Zeta-Jones was practically the only woman in that movie who did not "expose" herself as cheaply as the others did. She was the one who had the most class.
Remember, it was a movie about "jazz" women.

What is far worse is movies like "Sideways" which portray "normal" modern women easily engaging in immoral behavior with perfect strangers... The two women in that movie who removed thier clothes and allowed themselves to be filmed "having sex" were a disgrace.

Hugo Schwyzer

Well, I'm not going to be critical of the choices actresses make to get work!

My main point here was not the skin issue, it was the age issue. That's where the real trouble lies.

zuzu

Jack Nicholson (who is old and merely acted) lost to Adrien Brody who was young and had to undergo "tremendous physical abuse". Yet that same year, Catherine Zeta-Jones won her oscar for "merely acting" (and singing and dancing).

Zeta-Jones won in the Best Supporting Actress category, one in which older actresses have won more than they have in Best Actress. Nicole Kidman won Best Actress, though I don't recall for what.

aj

"Nicole Kidman won Best Actress, though I don't recall for what"

For "The Hours". Undeserved in my book.

zuzu

What is far worse is movies like "Sideways" which portray "normal" modern women easily engaging in immoral behavior with perfect strangers... The two women in that movie who removed thier clothes and allowed themselves to be filmed "having sex" were a disgrace.

Gasp! Women having sex! And enjoying it, no less! With men! Who also took off their clothes! And "had sex" on camera! Shocking! Disgraceful! The end of civilization!

I feel faint.

emmy

"My main point here was not the skin issue"

Then why bring it up?

elaine

Lovely post, Hugo. You know how much I enjoy talks of Oscar. I am with you on this whole age thing. My dad and I have discussed it tremendously, how many young women have taken home the gold the past couple of years. And yes, even though, they were deserving (I, personally loved Theron's performance in Monster)I have noticed that there hasn't been a change. Entertainment Weekly has even joked about it, so obviously more people are starting to notice. I have not seen Annette Bening's "Being Julia" but I'm hoping to, before the 27th, so I can be a fairer judge about this issue. It's a sensitive issue to me, I think, being an actor. I understand the hardships actors have to go through in order to pull off a strong performance, you know-coming from experience. But I understand your take on this subject. It would be nice to see an over 40 actor take home the gold come February 27th.

zuzu

For "The Hours". Undeserved in my book.

Didn't see it, but it follows the win-with-transformation theory, what with the big prosthetic honker.

Hugo Schwyzer

Thanks, elaine; I brought up the skin issue as a secondary one -- and wanted to make sure we returned to the larger issue of age discrepancy. I figure my readers can handle primary and secondary points...

emmy

"Gasp! Women having sex! And enjoying it, no less! With men! Who also took off their clothes! And "had sex" on camera! Shocking! Disgraceful! The end of civilization!"

And you call that a dignified expression of what it really means to be a woman. Its that very kind of garbage portrayals of women that keep the "good roles" from going to women.. especially to women over 40.

And in case you haven't seen "Sideways", the female character,Stephanie, was very distraught at being "used" by the male character. If she was truely enjoying herself, why would she beat him up and break his nose.

Amanda

Um, don't "normal" women usually take off their clothes to engage in "immoral" behavior like enjoying sex? I know it's shocking, but that's pretty much normal now.

Amanda

Yeah, emmy, but does that mean that she hated the sex? Having your heart broken isn't the result of sex, it's the result of living.

emmy

Amanda, clearly you are mixing real life with film. What occurs in the privacy of one's home is their business. Why show it on the screen... I think everyone knows what happens. It only degrades both men and women to be so explicit.

zuzu

If she was truely enjoying herself, why would she beat him up and break his nose.

Because he didn't tell her he was on his way to get married. One does get upset about that kind of thing sometimes.

I wonder how the age/must transform looks/or be highly sexualized thing plays out in some of the other major film awards, like the Golden Globes, BAFTAs, SAG awards and the like.

zuzu

Amanda, clearly you are mixing real life with film. What occurs in the privacy of one's home is their business. Why show it on the screen...

Because they're characters, not real people. They don't have homes.

emmy

"Because he didn't tell her he was on his way to get married. One does get upset about that kind of thing sometimes."

Then don't "give yourself away" . That's the moral here.

zuzu

Oh, I see. It's her fault that he lied to her.

emmy

"Oh, I see. It's her fault that he lied to her"

The film never said that he lied to her. It is implied that he simply never told her. Maybe she never asked. What is clear is that she was all too happy to invite a man she knew for one day to her home and have sex with him.

I think this discussion also brings up a valid point of why older women are not recognized in roles. If "Sideways" is indicative of the types of roles that agree with men and women moviegoers, then there is little room for aged women in that sort of farce.

I would personally like more meaningful movies altogether... which would undoubtedly leave more room for older actresses to portray their natural age. One of the charms of "Being Julia" and also of "Somethings Gotta Give" was that the "older" woman was seen as vibrant and still full of life. Most movies cast older women simply as somebody's mother... leaving the real story to the younger generation.

Mark

"Oh, I see. It's her fault that he lied to her"

The film never said that he lied to her. It is implied that he simply never told her. Maybe she never asked. What is clear is that she was all too happy to invite a man she knew for one day to her home and have sex with him.

Far more importantly, let's not excuse her violent behavior. Remember the slogan, "There's no excuse for domestic violence"? That would seem to apply here.

Mark

emmy

Mark, you are absolutely correct.

zuzu

No indication? Geez, I've only seen the trailer and read reviews, and I can tell from that scene and the way she says, "You're getting MARRIED??" that she didn't know.

What is clear is that she was all too happy to invite a man she knew for one day to her home and have sex with him.

Funny that you don't criticize the man who a) lied to her and b) accepted her invitation eagerly. I'm also not sure how exactly sexuality expressed by adult female characters (both Sandra Oh and Virginia Madsen are in their 30s, by the way) is so alienating for women over 40, particularly those who consider themselves "full of life."

And isn't describing someone over 40 as "full of life" just a weensy bit patronizing?

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