My Harmful Behaviours
OK, so the other day a Medium writer threw their teddy out of the pram because Stephanie Hsu didn’t get the Best Supporting Actress award for Everything, Everywhere, All At Once. This was, they claimed, because Hollywood is down on queer Asians. Now I dare say that fact might have had some influence, but I do not accept that this is the only reason for not giving that particular award to that particular actress.
The film in question — not one I would personally watch because I’m not sure my poor old brain could handle it — swept the board at the recent Academy Awards. It scooped Best Leading Actress (Michelle Yeoh), Best Supporting Actor (Ke Huy Quan) and Best Supporting Actress (Jamie Lee Curtis). Be it noted that two of these are Asian and all three have had long careers in cinema and all are long overdue for recognition. Ms Hsu, on the other hand, is a newcomer with only one major film under her belt.
The author went on to excoriate Brendan Frasers’ performance in The Whale as ‘horrifying and fatphobic’ and to dismiss All Quiet On The Western Front as romanticising Nazism.
I commented as follows:
Michelle Yeoh has earned her award by working long and hard over many years in many roles. Jamie Lee Curtis has done the same. Ke Huy Quan has also worked long and hard in the industry. But the film is Stephanie Hsus’ first major role.
Let me be clear. As a general rule (there have been exceptions) top-level Academy Awards given to performers are usually given on the basis of a long and distinguished career or, in the case of Brendan Fraser, a bold step outisde their usual ‘type’. The film they get the award for is just the excuse, the award is for the career.
There are no ‘breakout’ Oscars. If Ms Hsu wants one, she’ll have to work for it!
On another point, All Quiet on the Western Front is almost universally acknowledged as one of the most powerful anti-war stories ever written. It also concerns the First World War, a war which took place before the Nazis existed, so it could hardly romanticise them. Do a little research before you write.
I will not go into the authors’ tedious and personally-insulting response or my somewhat testy…