Oscar season usually brings out the snubs and the aggressive campaigns, and the media usually gets into the act. This year was no different, but still Salon Magazine (yes it's still around and more obscure than ever) took the cake with a really slimy campaign aimed at The Hurt Locker.
How bad was it? First an article by Martha P. Nochimson that called Kathryn Bigelow a transvestite because her movies weren't feminine enough. The use of transvestite as an insult is hypocritical enough from a supposedly LGBT friendly site. It's also ironic coming from a woman who wrote a book about Hong Kong gangster movies.
The first woman to win a Directors Guild of America award, and now favored to become the first to win an Oscar for directing. But no cheers for Miss Kathy for breaking the glass ceiling by fabricating my worst cinematic nightmare. Quentin Tarantino, who should know better, having just directed a piercingly original ironic study of war and blood lust, dubbed Bigelow the "Queen of Directors" when she took the DGA award. I prefer the "Transvestite of Directors."
Then once The Hurt Locker had already won, Salon topped itself again with an even viler piece by Erik Nelson which compared Kathryn Bigelow to Tracy Flick. Because you know how much Bigelow, an understated and unappreciated director for most of her career has in common with Tracy Flick. You know aside from them both being women. Who get in a man's way.
Two films went head to head last night. One was the ultimate "indie"; it redefined how people look at movies, brought the world back into theaters, pushed the technological boundaries of the art form in a way not seen since D.W Griffith perfected the "close-up" and was a passionate labor of love by its creator, who bent the studio system to his will in order to make it. The other was a queasily immoral war movie that had the audacity to turn a human tragedy into a "Call of Duty"-style video game
But should we expect anything more? The Oscars are, as ever, a shabby high school popularity contest and a new, soon-to-be-forgotten head of student council has just been elected: Long live the King of the World. He wuz robbed by Tracy Flick.
Nelson slimly argues that Avatar, a 500 million dollar CG filled FOX movie is the "real indie" (in other news, rich white men are the "real" minority) that was robbed by "Tracy Flick". Because Bigelow took something that Nelson felt a man was entitled to.
Nachimson and Nelson both attack Bigelow, in order to defend industry hacks like Nora Ephron and James Cameron. If Erik Nelson was capable of being honest, he would admit that his anger at Bigelow was motivated precisely because the odd girl out beat the golden boy on merit. Which is not how student elections are supposed to go. And if Nochimson were being honest, she would admit that her real problem with Bigelow, is that she dares go where Nochimson herself does not. That The Hurt Locker is outside her Nora Ephron comfort zone.
Calling Bigelow a transvestite or Tracy Flick is their way of dealing with it.
I don't know what Salon's issue with The Hurt Locker is. But the next time Salon cadges donations, readers might do the smart thing and say no, and explain why. And the same goes patronizing anything that Martha P. Nochimson and Erik Nelson do. Because there should be no room for racist and sexist dog whistles.