Critics Choice Awards: Tongue-Tied Director of Revisionist Western Upsets Critics
By Dr. Tom Snyder, Editor
The critics behind the Critics Choice Awards Sunday night gave their two biggest awards to Director Jane Campion and her revisionist western, THE POWER OF THE DOG.
Onstage to accept her award for Best Director, however, Campion had difficulty putting together a coherent acceptance speech. In the middle of her speech, she started talking about how wonderful it was for the Broadcast Film Critics Association to give the Best Director prize to a female. In the middle of that, she focused on the female tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams, who were there to cheer on actor Will Smith, who took home the Best Actor award for playing their beloved father in the movie KING RICHARD.
“Venus and Serena, you’re such marvels,” Campion said. “However, you don’t play against the guys, like I have to.”
Campion’s comment about Serena and Venus garnered outrage from her some critics. Many people thought her comment was disrespectful to Venus and Serena’s incredible achievements on the tennis courts. Some complained that Campion acted like a privileged old white woman.
The next day after the awards, Campion apologized for her comment.
“I made a thoughtless comment equating what I do in the film world with all that Serena Williams and Venus Williams have achieved,” she said. “The last thing I would ever want to do is minimize remarkable women. I love Serena and Venus. Their accomplishments are titanic and inspiring. Serena and Venus, I apologize and completely celebrate you.”
While Venus and Serena have won mixed doubles matches against “the guys,” in 1998, they both lost friendly matches to a male tennis player who was ranked No. 200 among male tennis players at the time.
Of course, competing in professional sports is a much less subjective competition than competing for an award in movies or television.
The sad fact is that more and more young female athletes at the high school and college level are losing tournaments–and even scholarships–to biological males who chose to identify as a different gender to give themselves a distinct physical advantage.
However, when it comes to filmmaking, its an even – if not biased – playing field. So much of Hollywood wants to award diversity that they give the advantage to women and to movies like THE POWER OF THE DOG that, despite revisionist history, promote a politically correct agenda.
Ironically, Campion discovered Sunday night that, if you cater to a crowd that always finds offense, they may come for you the next day.
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