Monday, September 26, 2011

Shame is not AMPAS Friendly

In Contention at HitFix

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize from the offset that Steve McQueen's Shame is not standard fare when it comes to Oscar nominations. With the film garnering an NC-17 rating when it comes out in theaters later this year, that is a kiss of death rating for any film, however, Shame is no ordinary film. Rarely does a film that bare this mark garners such high quality acting from its stars, such as Michael Fassbender in the role of Brandon, a sex addict, and his equally disturbed sister, Sissy, wonderfully played by Carey Mulligan. With full frontal male and female nudity to boot, it would be outside the box for AMPAS to give Shame serious consideration.

At In Contention, reviewer Kristopher Tapley is someone I have come to enjoy reading his Oscar prognosticating over the years. He appreciates Michael Fassbender's talent as an actor and praised him in Shame, but he is hesitant to add Michael onto his own prediction list because of AMPAS' history of ignoring the very type of films and performances that is done this time by Michael. As per the link to today's article, which features an image of Michael from Shame, Tapley discusses his five SAFE and MAINSTREAM predictions which includes ratings generating A-listers who have been nominated before, and then he writes about the other actors whose work the Oscars may not have an interest in honoring. He writes, "Then there is Michael Fassbender in Steve McQueen's "Shame." I've been going on about this one since Telluride and gave a hearty pat on the back to Fox Searchlight for picking it up. Again, it's the actor's best work yet, a revelation of nuance and internalized, obsessive agony."

 Over the weekend, I read a previous article from last week in where I asked Kristopher in the comments section, why wasn't Fassbender on his radar yet, and he responded, "It's been all over my radar since I saw it at Telluride and raved about it. But Oscar is a different thing altogether. I'll respect Fox Searchlight even more than I already do if they can get him a nod for something this challenging, and I don't think it's out of the realm of possibility. It's an uphill climb, is all."

So there we have it. Michael's good, but, he's not in a film/role that is non-challenging, regular, and mainstream, therefore, his efforts will be an uphill climb to be properly acknowledged at the Oscars. If Michael Fassbender DOES not at least, earn as Oscar nomination for Shame, this will be yet another indication as to how out of sync AMPAS is in honoring the integrity of an actor's work, regardless of how well known he is, and the subject matter of the film. What ever happened to objectivity in looking at all the performances at face value and then deciding fair and square who deserves to be one of the five to be nominated? I guess that's asking too much isn't it? Being fair and thorough is hard work and time consuming. The one good positive note out of all this thus far, is with Fox Searchlight picking up Shame so that it can qualify for nomination consideration. After that, the ball is in AMPAS's court.


Kate said...

I read a lot of these Oscar columns (and the comments) as well. Strangely enough, it seems like the character and sex scenes aren't going to be the most off-putting aspect of the movie. The male full-frontal nudity will be. All those 50+ male voters with insecurities...

Anyway, it seems that Fox Searchlight has the resources to launch a mega-campaign for Michael, if they so choose. But they also have Clooney to back in the Descendants. One thing to consider is that Searchlight is an umbrella company of FOX, which produced both X-Men and Prometheus. How much do they want "Oscar Nominee" up front in the marketing for Prometheus? Just a thought.

Dionne said...

@Katie you make a great point. On the IMDB M.F. message boards there was recently a thread added that got a lot of attention.

It talked about how FOX Searchlight brought Shame, just so nobody else would, and they could focus all their attention into promoting G.C. in the Descendants.
And DO NOTHING to promote Shame. Essentially buying out the ompetition so their guy can win.

I really have no faith in the academy so, if Michael gets a nod, it will be a miracle.

Alexi said...

I still don't understand what all the fuss about the nude male body is all about. The male body is just as beautiful and dangerously striking as the female body, if not more. (It is more to me, as I am a girl)

Ugh. Male critics. So worried about their own small junk being shown up by Fassys world creator.


Kate said...


No, I think those IMDb users were wrong about the Searchlight strategy. They have every intention of pushing Michael hard for a nomination. A company like that doesn't outbid everyone else to dump the film completely. They're not going to make money on this deal. This is a prestige thing and a good-faith effort to make connections with a promising director.

However, if Michael and Clooney both get noms, they will focus on Clooney for the win, which I honestly won't fault them for.

renandelpech said...

Well without any doubts, Michael's work in Shame is Oscar material. That's for certain, however let's don't forget that the movie doesn't have even a trailer so far.
I wonder when are they planning to put it in the movie theaters. Does anybody know this?
I guess they will have to make a big edition with the movie in order to make it more "acceptable" for the conventional standars. I'm just assuming, but I wouldn't be surprised if we have to wait for the director's cut in the DVD to enjoy the whole movie with all the nudity and se x scenes.

But I don't lose my hope about an Oscar nomination for Michael, but being realistics that would come more for "A Dangerous Method". Wich is also and amazing job, and amazing movie.

KATIE said...

Hey, yeah. Shame doesn't have a trailer. O_O ..I just realized. lol why is that?

*putting my name in caps from now on so me and Kate don't get you all confused.

Dionne said...

*Thanks KATIE, i meant to direct my other comment to Kate. lol

@Kate I hope your right. But if both G.C. and Fass get nominations I'm going to throw a BITCH-fit if they promote G.C. over Michael.

I just feel really pissed when my Fassy isn't getting proper recognition from associations like The Academy. (breath again)

Simone said...

These are all great comments and I want to add a little bit now.

I too find it perplexing that members of AMPAS may have more prejudice against Michael for Shame due to his nude scenes. It will just demonstrate why male nudity has been the last frontier and why women's bodies have been devalued by Hollywood through the blatant proliferation of 'tits and ass' for the past 50 years. But I digress... I doubt that Fox Searchlight would spend so much money to buy Shame, AFTER it did so well at Venice, to snuff it out in order to promote The Decendants.

George Clooney won his Best Supporting Oscar in 2006, just 5 short years earlier. Common sense dictates that Fox would promote both George and Michael equally so that at least ONE of them can win. But studios have been known to favor one performer over another and in this case, George is the favorite child.

@renandelpech - Shame will NOT be edited, Steve McQueen says he will not cut or edit a dang thing, so what I saw at TIFF, you too will see at theaters. If any attempt were to be made to give it an R rating, at least 45% of the film will be cut out and it would kill the essence of the film. So in this case, this movie has to been show in its entirety, or not at all.

If Michael were nominated, this first step would be a beautiful surprise and a validation of his talent, forever have his name show up on credits as Academy Award Nominated Michael Fassbender... and his stock will explode in hollywood.

That's just based on a nomination alone. It would be a whole different thing if he were to actually win.

Being optimistic, I strongly believe Michael has a great chance of being nominated. Being pessimistic, I'm afraid that he'll be discriminated against because of his nude scenes and the frank nature of the film will put off some of the older stodgy academy members and they won't give him the time of day. That will say more about them, than it does about Michael, or Shame.

It's just a waiting game, and it'll be a long waiting game as it is not even October yet.

F.FRANKLIN said...

simone,i guess the SEARCHLIGHT are also the one who campaigned for natalie portman in black swan is also a conterversial film as it contains some lesbian scenes.i guess searchlight will do well in campagaining for michael......but the critic in me says that michael must be nominated for he did a great job in shame.....but the win would be leonardo dicaprio for j edgar.BTW its my first comment on FF although i have been following your blog since february this year.

F.FRANKLIN said...

simone,actually i have started a blog inspired by u..its not a blog only about fassbender but a blog which celebrates all good talents and moviesmostly indie movies.just like you it will be only honest but not about gossips.of course fassbender would be the top of the list as he is my current favourite i hope u and all the fassy like me will read the blog when i start it.i really appreciate it.

Simone said...

@F.Franklin, just post a link to your blog and we will be happy to check it out. I'm glad FF has inspired you. xoxo

Simon Burke said...

No, correction Simone. It's not that Shame is AMPAS unfriendly it's that the AMPAS is not friendly to challenging, intelligent, emotionally complex works of cinema.

Any organization that prides itself on the promotion of excellence in cinema and yet blatantly turns it's back on a prime example of excellence in cinema is a sham and should be considered as such.

A flaccid penis or a naked backside should not be the determining factor as to whether a film should be honored or not.

Simone said...

I stand corrected Simon. ;-) But yes, I realize that too and as the Oscar season develops I will further elaborate on my views about AMPAS.

It's ironic that people who hold such power and influence in Hollywood have such insecurities, and do not like male nudes, especially from near perfect bodies. I'm trying to think that as it is 2011,the academy will have become more mature with new members joining in higher numbers in the past few years. Perhaps the new blood will help turn things around.

Simon Burke said...

@Simone: Yes, hopefully these new members won't discriminate against Michael Fassbender's member. ;)

F.FRANKLIN said...

simone ,here is the link to my blog .there is an article dedicated to michael fassbender and i hope you and other michael fassbender fans would visit it and give your comments.i really appreciate it.

NazOrs said...

It's frustrating, really.

For the reasons stated above, if Michael fails to get a nomination, I will be writing off the Oscars completely. The actors that get all the hype are those who know how to play the political side of hollywood and not necessarily the most talented. No one can tell me that George Clooney deserves a nomination, nevermind an Oscar, for playing a different variation of the same character in every single movie.

I understand that in nominating Shame, or Michael, would mean the promotion of the movie and thus, the promotion of "sex" in the eyes of the media, but this is the 21st century for God sakes. If "artists" like Rihanna and Gaga can garner praise and attention for prancing around nude, I can't see how this is any different.

Simone said...

NazOrs, you and me both will be writing off the Oscars if Michael's name is not listed as one of the nominees in late January. I'll be pissed, to be honest. If there ever was a role that an actor should be nominated for if he performed well in that role, it is this one for Michael.

I was livid when Hunger got screwed, and I still have issues with BAFTA all out ignoring Michael but still giving Hunger over 5 nominations. They destroyed their credibility to me in 2008 and there's NOTHING those mofos can do to gain my trust in them again. Not even a nomination for Michael for Shame. I'm done with them. But the politics of Oscar is a scary and powerful monster that has valid explanations for one thing, but pure bs for others - it's erratic to say the least.

Let's just wait and see.. especially we'll have an idea of his chances once the critics year end tallys start rolling in.