Oscars 2016: On gender diversity

According to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences trivia, only one person has won a gender-bending Oscar: Linda Hunt as the male dwarf Billy Kwan in 1982’s The Year of Living Dangerously.

Guess that means Jared Leto, who won a supporting actor Oscar for playing Rayon in 2013’s Dallas Buyers Club, doesn’t count. So not even “liberal-leaning Hollywood” knows how to classify transgender roles? What do you do when a man plays a woman assigned as a man at birth? That is some complicated back story. We’re not talking about playing the opposite sex but playing someone who matches one’s birth-assigned gender and has gender dysphoria. Not gender-bending, mind-bending.

Would Eddie Redmayne break new ground if he takes home an Oscar for playing pioneer transgender woman Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl? Or would someone demand to see a birth certificate?

Nothing new under the sun, The Bard might say. Since Shakespearean days, actors have played opposite gender roles. In opera, “pants” roles are de rigueur for mezzos. What Redmayne, Leto and Hunt have been doing is simply acting.

Going forward, what if a transgender actor/actress were to be nominated in an acting category — Laverne Cox, for example. Or someone who has not undergone gender confirmation surgery “displaying” as one gender yet identifying as another — how would the academy handle that acting feat?

Perhaps one day all gender walls shall be blessedly decimated and the academy will be forced to stop segregating men and women into actor/actress categories. It could honor up to 10 nominees and crown just one winner, as in the best picture category. No matter how you slice it, these awards compare apples to oranges.

Such a transformation might actually shorten the awards show. There’s that.

POST-OSCARS UPDATE: Ha! Chris Rock mentioned this very thing in his monologue. Why segregate the sexes?!

My 2016 Oscar Rustle-Hustle

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Next up: These two, together knocking out eight nominations

Confident this year I can do it: see all of the feature films and shorts nominated for Academy Awards in the top 24 categories within the six-plus weeks between Noms and Statuettes.

For 2016, there are 42 unique films and 15 shorts.

Given Fifty Shades of Grey is nominated for original song, I will change the rules slightly: I can’t bear to look upon that movie and shall eliminate the pressure to see the five song nominees, rather sampling only their songs. (Besides, “The Hunting Ground” will win that category, thanks, Gaga, and I’ve seen that movie — DONE!)

So, I need to tally only 37 feature films plus 15 shorts.
Score so far: 4/37+0 (11%).

Last year I couldn’t participate, due to homeowner’s woes, but in 2014
I finished with 31/42+15 (74%). In 2013, 23/38+15 (61%). Progress, not perfection, is the goal.

If I manage even 28 features plus all of the shorts, I win. Bundling each of the three shorts categories into four “movies,” as they’re presented at the local arts cinema, translates to consuming about five features a week, easy-peasy.

Here is the list, in order of appearance — as stacked at oscars.org — plus number of multiple nominations by my quick count (pardon errors):

FEATURE-LENGTH

Speaking of pressure, here's a little for "Mad Max: Fury Road" ...

Speaking of pressure, here’s a little for “Mad Max: Fury Road” …

  1. The Big Short – 5
  2. Bridge of Spies – 6
  3. Brooklyn – 3
  4. Mad Max: Fury Road – 10
  5. The Martian – 7 (seen it, twice)
  6. The Revenant – 12
  7. Room – 4 (read the book)
  8. Spotlight – 6 (saw it on Thanksgiving)
  9. Trumbo
  10. Steve Jobs – 2 (saw it on Halloween)
  11. The Danish Girl – 3 (reading the book)
  12. Carol – 6
  13. Joy
  14. 45 Years
  15. Creed
  16. The Hateful Eight – 3
  17. Anomalisa
  18. Boy and the World
  19. Inside Out – 2
  20. Shaun the Sheep Movie
  21. When Marnie Was There
  22. Sicario – 3
  23. Cinderella
  24. Amy
  25. Cartel Land
  26. The Look of Silence
  27. What Happened, Miss Simone?
  28. Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom
  29. Star Wars: The Force Awakens – 5 (saw it on Christmas Eve)
  30. Embrace of the Serpent
  31. Mustang
  32. Son of Saul
  33. Theeb
  34. A War
  35. The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
  36. Fifty Shades of Grey (song)
  37. Racing Extinction (song)
  38. Youth (song)
  39. The Hunting Ground (song) (seen it twice)
  40. Spectre (song)
  41. Ex-Machina – 2
  42. Straight Outta Compton
... and a little pressure for Eddie Redmayne

… and a little pressure for Eddie Redmayne

SHORTS

  1. Body Team 12
  2. Chau, Beyond the Lines
  3. Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah
  4. The Girl on the River: The Price of Forgiveness
  5. Last Day of Freedom
  6. Bear Story
  7. Prologue
  8. Sanjay’s Super Team
  9. We Can’t Live Without Cosmos
  10. World of Tomorrow
  11. Ave Maria
  12. Day One
  13. Everything Will Be Okay (Alles Wird Gut)
  14. Shok
  15. Stutterer

Fun aside: I was reading my 84-year-old mama the list, and she said, “Oh! Fifty Shades of Grey! I loved that one!”

Upon further probing, turns out she meant Grey Gardens. Phew.