So it is always rather interesting to me when I post to a site that is not primarily for gay women. I feel, despite our occasional disagreements, I understand where you are coming from. But while I have been writing for Women & Hollywood for almost a year, I still have not gotten a full grasp on its audience. So when my piece on why “Carol” got snubbed for Best Picture/Director Oscars went up on Friday, I was not sure what to expect. Needless to say, I do not agree with most of the comments ( also, admittedly, just stopped reading after a while because it can become exhausting).
I would, however, like to respond here to the frequent charges by its detractors that the film is “cold” and “chilly.” At first I was simply incredulous at these comments. Were we watching the same movie? How could the unstoppable attraction between these two women – always simmering just under the surface – be read as “cold?” Have you never wanted someone and then, slowly, marveled at the miracle that they actually wanted you back? Have you never had eye sex?
But then I realized perhaps that is part of it. The understanding (especially among some of its straight critics) of the often veiled nature of LGBT (especially about lesbian culture) culture just isn’t there. Also, this movie is set in 1952. This was way, way before main street pride parades and corporate sponsorship of gay causes was commonplace. Sure, now even graham cracker brands are falling over themselves to support us. But back then everything was coded, everything was unspoken.
And society, as a whole, was just more restrained. Men went to dinner in three-piece suits and women wore gloves and hats to lunch. All emotions were muted because the culture at the time demanded it. So the idea of two women in love being demonstrative with their passion out in public? Well, that was simply impossible.
I guess in the end, as much as I want the film to be universal, “Carol” just mattered to many of us gay women more. Here we finally had a film without anyone who goes crazy, without anyone who dies, without anyone who sleeps with a man. While there is suffering – because our basic humanity demands it – there was also at long last our happy ending. Yes, other films have also given us the happy ending (“Desert Hearts,” “Imagine Me & You,” “But I’m a Cheerleader,” “When Night Is Falling,” et al). But another film with such a mainstream cast, high profile production and the possibility to cross over? Never.
This story of two women in love matters to me, and I wish it mattered more to that larger world. That is didn’t will be forever a disappointment.
Of course, at this point you’re probably sick of hearing me yammer on about this (and I promise to talk about other things again soon). But before I go here are some other smart folks’ thoughts on why “Carol” was snubbed. So, clearly, you do not have to take my word on it alone.
-The “Carol” Oscars Snub: The Problem Isn’t Lesbians, It’s Misandry – Autostraddle
-“Carol” was snubbed by the Oscars for the very same reason it was written – AfterEllen
-Why Did Carol Get Shut Out of Oscar’s Biggest Categories? – Vanity Fair
-Why Carol is Misunderstood – The Atlantic
-5 myths that prevented 'Carol' from getting a Best Picture nomination – HitFix
-How ‘Carol’ Got Screwed – Flavorwire
-By mostly snubbing Carol, the Oscars continue to exclude queer cinema – A.V. Club
-A Letter From The Oscar Board On Why ‘Carol’ Was Totally Snubbed – EliteDaily
p.s. As I said before, I am now just openly rooting for Furiosa and Mad Max: Fury Road to fuck shit up at the Oscars.