Slaves, nannies, and maids: Oscars value women of colour – in subservient roles | Film | The Guardian

For Oscar voters, what makes a great performance has disturbingly narrow criteria for non-white performers. The observation that people of colour are only ever recognised for playing slaves and criminals, that their stories are only ever seen as important when they deal with tragedy and suffering, does not strictly belong to the unenlightened past. This week’s Oscar nominations prove that such judgments are planted firmly in the present.

The kinds of roles being written for people of colour over the past decade have begun to expand to encompass a wider range of experiences. Just recently we were graced with the luminous Jennifer Lopez as savvy stripper Ramona in Hustlers; newcomer Nora Lum (Awkwafina) as the conflicted granddaughter of a dying matriarch in The Farewell; Lupita Nyong’o in a remarkable two-in-one turn in Jordan Peele’s Us. This all goes without mentioning the incredible performances that never quite picked up steam: Alfre Woodard in Clemency, for instance, or Song Kang-Ho in Parasite. But never mind the fertile pickings. This year the Academy has nominated one person of colour – Cynthia Erivo as Harriet Tubman in Harriet. This outcome is dismaying, partly because it falls neatly into a familiar pattern: a person of colour performing a racially specific form of suffering, the outlier in a sea of white nominees.

Erivo’s nomination for Harriet, a film that received middling reviews, is not a preposterous decision. Actors are often recognised for individual work that might stand out in an otherwise mediocre film (take Renée Zellweger in Judy). I’m not bothered by the quality of Erivo’s performance. There are far more egregious entries on that front, with the likes of Charlize Theron for Bombshell, or Scarlet Johansson for Jojo Rabbit, reaping nods (have the Oscars ever been a legitimate meritocracy?). Far more worrisome is what Erivo’s nomination suggests about the way Academy voters evaluate performers of colour, who seem to be the most visible, and taken the most seriously, within the trappings of white pity.

That voters overlooked a performance like Nyong’o’s in Us, a chilling interpretation of two sides of the same self, is telling. It doesn’t matter that this performance matches, if not surpasses entirely that of Joaquin Phoenix’s in Joker, even though both actors play, with tremendous physical commitment, psychologically tormented characters in genre films. Instead, the Academy prefers the Nyong’o who starred in 12 Years a Slave (2013), a film in which she is a slave, raped and humiliated. For these efforts, so difficult for the conscience to ignore, she was awarded best supporting actress.

In the last decade, only 14 women of colour were among the 100 women nominated by the Academy for the best actress and best supporting actress awards. There were even fewer men of colour (nine out of 100). That the same types of roles – slaves, nannies, and maids – continue to be the magic ticket to the red carpet, feels particularly ugly considering the range of parts played by white nominees. This year, for instance, the characters of Erivo’s fellow best actress nominees include a Fox newswoman, an icon of classic Hollywood, an aspiring young writer, and a hopeful divorcee. In 2019, Yalitza Aparicio was nominated for her performance in Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma. Aparicio is one of the few Latin American actresses to receive the honour, joining Adriana Barraza as a deported nanny in Babel, and Catalina Sandino Moreno as a drug mule in Maria Full of Grace.




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As moving as these performances are, these films leave a bitter taste as they reaffirm tired conceptions of Latin American women. Aparicio plays a housemaid silently enduring racism and neglect, which recalls another Academy favourite – Tate Taylor’s The Help (2011), which stars Octavia Spencer and Viola Davis as resilient maids, as well! Such slim parameters betray the desire, perhaps even the need by Oscar voters, for a particularly cheap form of pathos, one that simplifies and minimises the experiences of non-white people by placing them on the margins or in the past. Those performances that don’t square with this mould are often considered too “light,” too niche, or too subversive for the Academy, all of which indicates the incredible myopia of its voting body and the thinly veiled racism that guides it.

Perhaps hoping for a consistently diverse pool of Oscar nominees is blind optimism; the more time passes, the anomalous triumphs of films such as Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight, feel like a fever dream. By opening up its membership to more women and people of colour, and enlisting diverse talent such as John Cho, Issa Rae, and Tiffany Haddish to present its nominations, the Academy has attempted to create an image of inclusivity. But given this year’s batch of nominees, that commitment has proven to be both superficial and a bad joke.

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The Music in Pivotal Joker Scene Is by Notorious British Pedophile Gary Glitter

Does anyone at the Warner Bros. music department have access to Google?

The question arises after it emerged that a key scene in the studios hit new movie Joker, which opened Thursday for a record weekend, uses a famous track by Gary Glitter, a British pedophile currently rotting in jail, where he is serving a 16-year prison sentence for abusing three young girls.

Its not even Glitters first jail term; he served time in 2006 for molesting girls in Vietnam and was first jailed in 1999 after he was caught with images of child abuse.

While Glitter, real name Paul Gadd, may not be a household name in the U.S., he is one of the Britains most notorious hate-figures. The idea that his 1972 track Rock and Roll II could have been been included for a pivotal scene (in which Joaquin Phoenix descends an outdoor staircase as he completes his transformation into Batmans iconic foe) has shocked U.K. audiences.

With Joker grossing an estimated $93.5 million in ticket sales from 4,374 screens in North America this weekend, breaking the record for an October opening, Glitters royalty payment could leave him nicely set up for his release, which could come as soon as 2021 under British law.

Artists are usually paid a one-off synchronization fee when their songs are used on movie soundtracks, Ray Bush, managing director ofThe Music Royalty Co., told Yahoo News, It can range from 500 for smaller acts, up to 250,000-500,000, depending on the artist and the importance to the narrative of the film.

Some allegations against Glitter came to light 40 years after they occurred.

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‘Joker’ uses a song by convicted pedophile Gary Glitter. He’s probably making money off it

entertainment

(CNN)The controversy keeps building for Warner Bros.’ “Joker” movie.

The song, “Rock and Roll Part 2,” plays for about two minutes as star Joaquin Phoenix, who plays the Joker, dances down a flight of stairs.
Gary Glitter: 'Joker' uses a song by a convicted pedophile. He's probably making money off it - CNN
And that’s not all.
    Glitter, whose real name is Paul Gadd, is probably making money off the song’s use in the movie, too.
    It’s unclear exactly how much Glitter could make, but attorney John Seay, who specializes in entertainment law, broke down the general process.
    Basically, every song has two copyrights — the publishing copyright (the actual composition of the song, like its words and melody) and the actual sound recording (also known as the master). Because Glitter is a co-writer on the song, he probably owns some percentage of the publishing on the track, Seay said.
    The master is typically owned by the recording company, but Seay said it’s possible that the rights have reverted back to Glitter. Whatever money coming out of the song’s use would also have to get filtered through whatever record deal Glitter has.
    news
    In some countries outside of the US, movie theaters also pay performance royalties for music used in films. ‘Joker’ has already been released internationally, and Glitter stands to make money that way as well. Though single payments from theaters are tiny, Seay said they could add up to a “significant payday.” He’ll also get paid when the movie airs on TV.
    Regardless, Glitter is making money, Seay said. And the amount could be in the six figures range.

    The ethics of using a song by a pedophile

    It’s not just about the money, though. Some are questioning the morality of including the song and bringing profit to a convicted child sex offender.
    Rahul Kohli, a British actor best known for playing Dr. Ravi Chakrabarti in The CW’s “iZombie,” said on Twitter that he enjoyed the movie, but he also expressed that many might feel some discomfort at the song choice.
    Glitter was sentenced in 2015 to 16 years in prison after being convicted of child sex abuse. The British former pop star was convicted of one count of attempted rape of a girl under 13 years old, one count of having sex with a girl under the age of 13 and four counts of indecent assault against girls.
    In 1999 he admitted to possessing child pornography — landing him in jail for four months. Seven years later, while living in Vietnam, he was convicted of sex offenses against young girls and jailed for almost 3 years.
    Though some may claim the use of the song could be an intentional choice by filmmakers, Warner Bros. has not publicly commented. CNN reached out for further comment and have yet to hear back.
    CNN and Warner Bros. are owned by the same parent company, WarnerMedia.
    Despite the wave of controversies, “Joker” is making quite a bit of money — bringing in an estimated $93.5 million in North America alone in its opening weekend. That makes it the highest-grossing opening ever in the month of October.

    The song’s differing contexts

    “Rock and Roll Part 2” is best known to American audiences as the “Hey Song,” commonly played during sporting events. The NFL asked teams to stop playing the song back in 2006, after the musician was charged for sex crimes in Vietnam.
    In 2012, the NFL banned the song from the Super Bowl, as a version of it was being used as a touchdown anthem for the New England Patriots at the time.
      The song was also used as the goal song for several NHL teams, including the Nashville Predators. The Predators nixed the song before the start of the 2014-15 season in the wake of the new charges against Glitter.
      Fans in the US, though, still tend to associate the song more with victorious sporting events, whereas in the UK Glitter’s pedophilia is more widely known.

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      ‘Joker’ uses a song by convicted pedophile Gary Glitter. He’s probably making money off it

      (CNN)The controversy keeps building for Warner Bros.’ “Joker” movie.

      The song, “Rock and Roll Part 2,” plays for about two minutes as star Joaquin Phoenix, who plays the Joker, dances down a flight of stairs.
      And that’s not all.
        Glitter, whose real name is Paul Gadd, is probably making money off the song’s use in the movie, too.
        It’s unclear exactly how much Glitter could make, but attorney John Seay, who specializes in entertainment law, broke down the general process.
        Basically, every song has two copyrights — the publishing copyright (the actual composition of the song, like its words and melody) and the actual sound recording (also known as the master). Because Glitter is a co-writer on the song, he probably owns some percentage of the publishing on the track, Seay said.
        The master is typically owned by the recording company, but Seay said it’s possible that the rights have reverted back to Glitter. Whatever money coming out of the song’s use would also have to get filtered through whatever record deal Glitter has.
        In some countries outside of the US, movie theaters also pay performance royalties for music used in films. ‘Joker’ has already been released internationally, and Glitter stands to make money that way as well. Though single payments from theaters are tiny, Seay said they could add up to a “significant payday.” He’ll also get paid when the movie airs on TV.
        Regardless, Glitter is making money, Seay said. And the amount could be in the six figures range.

        The ethics of using a song by a pedophile

        It’s not just about the money, though. Some are questioning the morality of including the song and bringing profit to a convicted child sex offender.
        Rahul Kohli, a British actor best known for playing Dr. Ravi Chakrabarti in The CW’s “iZombie,” said on Twitter that he enjoyed the movie, but he also expressed that many might feel some discomfort at the song choice.
        Glitter was sentenced in 2015 to 16 years in prison after being convicted of child sex abuse. The British former pop star was convicted of one count of attempted rape of a girl under 13 years old, one count of having sex with a girl under the age of 13 and four counts of indecent assault against girls.
        In 1999 he admitted to possessing child pornography — landing him in jail for four months. Seven years later, while living in Vietnam, he was convicted of sex offenses against young girls and jailed for almost 3 years.
        Though some may claim the use of the song could be an intentional choice by filmmakers, Warner Bros. has not publicly commented. CNN reached out for further comment and have yet to hear back.
        CNN and Warner Bros. are owned by the same parent company, WarnerMedia.
        Despite the wave of controversies, “Joker” is making quite a bit of money — bringing in an estimated $93.5 million in North America alone in its opening weekend. That makes it the highest-grossing opening ever in the month of October.

        The song’s differing contexts

        “Rock and Roll Part 2” is best known to American audiences as the “Hey Song,” commonly played during sporting events. The NFL asked teams to stop playing the song back in 2006, after the musician was charged for sex crimes in Vietnam.
        In 2012, the NFL banned the song from the Super Bowl, as a version of it was being used as a touchdown anthem for the New England Patriots at the time.
          The song was also used as the goal song for several NHL teams, including the Nashville Predators. The Predators nixed the song before the start of the 2014-15 season in the wake of the new charges against Glitter.
          Fans in the US, though, still tend to associate the song more with victorious sporting events, whereas in the UK Glitter’s pedophilia is more widely known.

          Related posts

          At Least 2 Movie Theater Chains Ban Masks At ‘Joker’ Screenings

          DENVER, Sept 26 (Reuters) – The Landmark Theaters chain will ban costumes and masks for moviegoers during screenings of the film “Joker,” it said on Thursday, following concerns expressed by families involved in a 2012 mass shooting during a Batman film in Colorado.

          The Los Angeles-based chain, which runs 52 theaters in 27 markets, said it wanted customers to enjoy the film as a “cinematic achievement.”

          “But no masks, painted faces or costumes will be permitted into our theaters,” it said in a statement to Reuters.

          The film opens in theaters on Oct. 4.

          Landmark joins the nation’s largest movie chain, Kansas-based AMC Theatres, which has banned masks in theaters since the Colorado massacre that killed a dozen and wounded scores, and re-affirmed that ban.

          AMC, which runs more than 650 cinemas, reminded customers this week that while it allowed costumes, it did not allow masks.

          “Guests are welcome to come dressed in costume, but we do not permit masks, face paint or any object that conceals the face,” it said in a statement widely reported in the media, including Variety.

          Landmark did not give a reason for its ban.

          But it follows a letter from the families of some victims of the shooting at a 2012 showing of the Batman movie, “The Dark Knight Rises” in Aurora, Colorado, to Warner Bros., the studio behind the “Joker,” expressing concern.

          Some of those at the midnight screening in the packed Aurora theater had been wearing costumes. The mass shooting at the Century 16 Theater multiplex owned by Cinemark USA Inc killed 12 and wounded 70.

          The gunman, James Holmes, is serving multiple life sentences after being convicted of mass murder, despite pleading not guilty by reason of insanity.

          The new film depicts the mental breakdown of the Joker character, the nemesis of Batman in various movie, television and comic book adaptations, that leads to violence.

          The families’ letter also urged Warner Bros. to end political contributions to candidates who take money from theNational Rifle Association and to fund gun violence intervention programs.

          In response, Warner Bros. issued a statement of sympathy for the victims and their families, Entertainment Weekly said.

          “Our company has a long history of donating to victims of violence, including Aurora, and in recent weeks, our parent company joined other business leaders to call on policymakers to enact bipartisan legislation to address this epidemic,” WarnerBros. said, media reported.

          But the movie does not endorse real-world violence and does not hold up the Batman villain as a hero, it added.

          Los Angeles police aim to step up visibility during the film’s opening weekend.

          “The Los Angeles Police Department is aware of public concerns and the historical significance associated with the premiere of the Joker,” it said in a statement to Reuters.

          “While there are no credible threats in the Los Angeles area, the department will maintain high visibility around movie theaters when it opens.”

          Aurora police have said Cinemark will not screen “Joker” at the Colorado multiplex, where they continue to provide enhanced security.

          “We recognize this release may cause concern for the families, friends, first responders and beyond,” police said in a statement on Wednesday.

          (Reporting by Keith Coffman in Denver, and additional reporting by Rich McKay in Atlanta; Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Christian Schmollinger)

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