question of the day: Did male discomfort prevent Michael Fassbender from being nominated for an Oscar for Shame?
I was stunned, as were many Oscar watchers, to see the nominations come and go last week with no mention of Michael Fassbender’s astonishing performance in Shame. If ever there was an Academy Award shoo-in, it seemed to be Fassbender for his candid work in a performance that is uniquely cinematic. So what happened?
I may have hinted at the problem without realizing it in my review of the film:
What is shocking about Shame is the male vulnerability, the male weakness, the abject male misery we see onscreen. Movies simply don’t do this. Movies protect the male ego, even to the point of — at least in the United States, thanks to the MPAA’s retrograde puritanism — decreeing that male nudity is much more scandalous and is to be treated much more seriously than female nudity, which may be treated casually. (A penis? Onscreen? Why, men might feel inadequate! Unless said penis is somehow comically small. That’s okay! Male egos remain intact!) (Warning: Fassbender’s nudity may bruise some male egos.) Male dignity is something that the status quo — in Hollywood and in the larger culture — works very hard to maintain in the same way that it does not do for women.
But it didn’t strike me that the nature of Fassbender’s performance as well as the subject matter of the film — which is more raw about male sexuality than any film I think I’ve seen — might have made male Academy voters too uncomfortable until I saw this hilarious satirical poster for the film from TheShiznit.co.uk:
(By the way, do click over to TheShiznit.co.uk to see a wide range of very funny similar posters for this year’s Oscar nominees.)
See the quote up top?
“Far more of Michael Fassbender’s penis that I ever wished to see.” —Men
Is that what Fassbender’s snub is about?
Did male discomfort prevent Michael Fassbender from being nominated for an Oscar for Shame?
What do you think?
(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)
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