Carol Too Gay
Carol, a love story between two women set in the ‘50s, possesses all of the key ingredients for an award-winning film: critically acclaimed actresses such as Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, a wildly passionate and heartbreaking love story, raving reviews by critics, a magnificent original score, and stunning cinematography.
Why then has it been snubbed by this year’s Oscar nominations? There are a number of factors, which could contribute to the unfair dismissal of such a beautiful and progressive film.
First of all, the love story is between two women. Although one would think that in 2016 romances between two people of the same sex might be more widely accepted. No, it is not fair to say that people cannot relate to such a romance. Can viewers truly relate to an intergalactic battle, an epic car chase through a desert, or fighting a bear? Not likely.
The Revenant, an adventure film about a man (Leonardo DiCaprio) surviving in the wilderness post-bear attack, received 12 Oscar nominations this year while Carol was only nominated for six, despite the latter receiving much better critic reviews. The Academy did not even use up all of their nominations in the best film category, only nominating eight of 10 possible films, leaving Carol out. To be fair Blanchett and Mara were nominated for best actress and best supporting actress, though.
It seems to be a common theme that unless the token ‘gay’ character in a movie is merely a side character, the film will receive much less success than if the main character was straight. Brokeback Mountain is a perfect example of a movie that was expected to receive glory but was given a pat on the back instead, when it was nominated for but lost the best film award to Crash in 2005. Whereas Dallas Buyers Club, a film that kept its gay content segregated to supporting roles, cleaned up nicely with three awards at last years Academy Awards.
Another more controversial explanation for the snubbing of Carol is the way in which it portrays men, or more accurately, the lack of strong male characters. In the film men are completely unnecessary— except maybe for playing a role in the creation of Carol’s child— and are in fact portrayed rather comically. It is no wonder that in a society dominated by men obsessed with power, a film that shows women independent of a man’s influence— while being perfectly happy— would be met with silence.
Let’s be honest, have you ever heard of a movie lacking strong male characters that was successful on the big screen? Mad Max: Fury Road, arguably the most feminist movie that is receiving head nods currently, does not fail to have a strong man always present when the woman needs help, and indeed, the female characters will indubiously need Max’s help.
Consider that the majority of The Academy is composed of older white males, and then ask yourself why gay content and female independence in censored from the Academy’s consideration.