Media dis&dat has some great posts on disability themes in oscar-nominated films, as well as excellent coverage of the protests against the humanitarian award for Jerry Lewis. I haven’t found any substantive commentary on the Oscar-winning performance by Penelope Cruz in “Vicky, Christina, Barcelona,” so will say a little bit here.
First, I have to say that I was surprised that Cruz was nominated at all — it was not her best performance although it did stand out because the film as a whole was so dull. By giving her the best supporting actress award, I think the Academy is validating a stereotypical view of persons with mental illness. Then there’s the underlying current of misogyny that runs throughout this characterization — but that’s become pretty common for Woody Allen nowadays.
I thought Ann Hathaway’s character Kim in “Rachel Getting Married” was a much more nuanced view of a person struggling with addiction and emotional problems. We get to see raw emotional pain and the family conflicts that ensue — but she’s not demonized either.
Anyway, I’d be interested in hearing other reactions to these performances and others I missed (e.g. “Revolutionary Road” and “The Changeling.”) As to the Oscar ceremony — BORING!!!! The only entertaining part was the bit with Tina Fey and Steve Martin (Ben Stiller’s impression of Joaquin Phoenix was entertaining for a bit but got old fast). I think Fey and Martin should host next year.