Charlize Theron | Film | Hugh Jackman | Madonna | Nathaniel Rogers | Oscars

Movies: One Week Oscar Runs, Madonna Moments, Gay Slurs

W.E. (Madonna's movie) and We Need To Talk About Kevin (with Tilda Swinton)

...would live in the movie theater but for the poor internet reception. He blogs daily at the Film Experience. Follow him on Twitter @nathanielr.

Another deluge of Oscar hopeful hits screens this weekend including Madonna's royal romance W.E., the Tilda Swinton births a demon child drama WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN, and the Polish holocaust drama IN DARKNESS. You're forgiven if you don't even notice that they've opened. Perhaps we should call this a light drizzle rather than a deluge. All three of those films, which each have viable if very particular Oscar hopes, have opted for the dread "one week qualifier" route. For those who are unfamiliar with the boring facts known as "rules" it works like so: a film must open within the calendar year for a one week regular theatrical engagement in order to be eligible for that year's Oscars.

Oscar-darkUnfortunately the studios have long since perfected this sneaky back road to awardage. Why risk those pesky deterrents to glory like, oh, flopping at the box office or allowing the film to percolate with audiences -- what if they don't like it!? -- when you can quality, remove your film immediately from theaters, sit back and wait for magic nominations to materialize. If a film is not nominated, it falls dramatically down the priority scale of its distributor sometimes never to be seen again. If a film wins the lottery is nominated, it opens trusting that its shiny new nominations make it a hot piece. This is rather a gross perversion of the spirit of the law, which aims to honor the best films of a given year, if not the letter. But Oscar doesn't seem to mind as they've never fixed what amounts to a loophole. So this year, Tilda and company, Madonna & company, and the Polish film (among others) are trying this tactic. Basically they're not opening until 2012 but they're pretending they're 2011 releases. Boo!

THE SITTER (starring Jonah Hill) and NEW YEAR'S EVE (starring everyone else) will be everywhere you look in wide release. In limited release with Best Actor and Best Actress buzz are Gary Oldman headlining a rich ensemble in the espionage drama TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY and Charlize Theron playing a YOUNG ADULT novelist who heads back to her sleepy hometown to steal her high school beau (Patrick Wilson) back from his wife.   


 roadDo you bristle when you hear gay slurs in movies or is it all about the context? I'm curious to see how my fellow LGBT moviegoers react to one plot thread in YOUNG ADULT. I loved this inspired dark comedy, but one of its plot points (minor spoiler though it actually takes place before the movie) involves a high school hate crime in which a presumably gay student was left crippled.



Patrick Wilson's "Buddy" argues with Charlize Theron's "Mavis" about the incident and points out that she called the victim a 'theater fag' all the time in high school. "It's an expression," she says with eye rolling exasperation, eager to get back to flirting. She's so entirely self-absorbed that the feelings of others are mysteries and she definitely can't process her own complicity in the bullying. She's a Mean Girl as anti-heroine of her own movie; all grown up but still achingly adolescent inside. 

 roadYoung Adult star and comic Patton Oswalt (a real threat for a Best Supporting Actor nomination), has issues of his own with the gay stereotypes in movies. Splitsider, in survey of roles he DIDN'T take or didn't get thus far, reminds us about a bit on his comedy album wherein he talks about turning down a gay best friend part.

I got offered to go audition for a romantic comedy and they wanted me to audition for the part of the 'gay best friend!' It’s 2011—I may as well put on blackface and tap dance. That's how old that cliché is now. I read the script and every scene was like, I walk in and she’s crying and I go, 'Microwave popcorn and red wine, stat!' 


 roadSpeaking of theater boys, have you read this hilarious New York Times piece on Hugh Jackman's stage persona? "Mr. Jackman is, unapologetically and triumphantly, the bi-est guy in town: bicultural, bimorphic, binational, biprofessional and, for entertainment purposes, bisexual."

 roadIn honor of W.E.'s sorta release, Madonna's best moments on the big screen

 roadWith the release of New Year's Eve -- she shares her scenes with Ashton Kutcher -- I've been thinking about Lea Michele a lot. What will her career hold for her after Glee. How do you follow up a showstopper like "Rachel Berry"? There's very juicy gossip circulating about unhappiness on the set of Glee and ratings are down so the time is ripe for her next career move anyway. Are you still watching? Will you watch Lea Michele after Glee? She's so divisive. She's still supposedly in the running for "Eponine" in the long awaited film version of Les Miserables.

Oh Les Miz... even hearing the title, the songs start playing at full volume in my head. 


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  1. Maybe Broadway will come to its senses and cast Lea in "Funny Girl." It would be a surefire sell-out for months before one rview was published.

    Somebody should stick a fork in La Murphy -- and twist it.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Dec 9, 2011 7:18:33 PM

  2. Once again, we're respectfully asking...begging...Mr. Rogers to drop the "Oscar bait" schtick he seems to insert in every post here—AS IF wanting an Oscar is a bad thing/somehow diminishes the film like a woman who isn't a virgin on her wedding night. And, AS IF there exists any film maker, no matter how humble, independent, anti-Hollywood, who would NOT be thrilled by getting one. If you were a sportswriter, would you insert some dig about a team/individual athlete wanting a championship ring/trophy in EVERY article you wrote about them?

    As for the revival of "Funny Girl," last I read it had been postponed indefinitely because of financial problems.

    Posted by: Michael Bedwell | Dec 9, 2011 8:02:00 PM

  3. After reading about the gay slur in Diablo Cody's "Young Adult," I had to tell you that I worked on Diablo's show, "United States of Tara" - an episode called "Hellhouse." The scene called for a carnival barker type to yell at us actors all these gay slurs, "Homo, queer, fruit, fag," etc. When I was hired, I had no idea this would happen. It was horrible to have these words yelled at me for hours. Diablo Cody was on set as she had written every word. When we filmed it, I didn't know that the pilot episode (which was already filmed) was filled with scenes of the mother (in a male personality) calling her son every gay slur imaginable. When Diablo puts gay slurs into most of her projects, it makes you wonder if she has an issue with gays. What do you all think?

    Posted by: Try again... | Dec 9, 2011 9:28:02 PM

  4. Michael Bedwell speaks for herself, not "we."

    I don't get what her problem is. Nathaniel, keep on about Oscar-bait all you want. The Oscars are a fun yearly competition that I like to participate in. They're my Superbowl; if I could start a fantasy league, I would.

    Posted by: Phil | Dec 9, 2011 9:31:44 PM

  5. Glee's ratings are down because the show has run it's course. That's what happens when something becomes overhyped so quickly.

    Posted by: Diana | Dec 9, 2011 10:03:26 PM

  6. I saw Madonna's film in Toronto and thought it was quite good. The costumes, score, cinematography, and supporting actress are sure to get nominations. I plan on checking it out again during its one week run.

    Posted by: Cindy | Dec 9, 2011 10:22:58 PM

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  9. I couldn't agree with David Ehrenstein more about la Murphy. I think he singlehandedly propelled Glee on its downward spiral. He is more of a diva than any of his actors.

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  11. Any use of the word "fag" or "faggot" just conjurs up hurt and unsettled emotions. It ruins the entire movie for me. Within 5 minutes of the movie "Hangover" I was sick to my stomach and wished I had never wasted my time seeing it. That use of the slur was very intentional and ugly. Though in "Young Adult" the slur is merely being used as a quote, just hearing the word will distract me from the movie with mental images of homophobic hate. There is too much negativity and sadness associated with it. I don't like feeling that when I escape in a movie.
    I know some gays have... embraced the terms, but I can not. Too many gay bashings with echoes of that slur. It sickens me...

    Posted by: Chris | Dec 10, 2011 11:09:40 AM

  12. Fox is still satisfied with the ratings for Glee. The ratings have simply settled from "the stratosphere" to "normal". It is not close to being canceled. Glee may have been over-exposed but that is no reason not to watch and appreciate what they offer from week to week. It is not perfect, but some of the episodes this season have been the best ever. The musical performances continue to be high quality and entertaining. Whether you like it or not, our community benefits from the characters of Kurt, Blaine, Santana and Brit being on tv every week and it doesn't serve our cause to try and bring this ship down. Why would this article quote gossip that the stars have refuted? Towleroad should be above this.

    Posted by: Larry | Dec 10, 2011 12:32:46 PM

  13. @ Phil: try taking a course i"Reading for Comprehension." My issue is NOT the Oscars but that MR. ROGERS derides them repeatedly.

    Thank you and Happy Holidays.

    Posted by: Michael Bedwell | Dec 10, 2011 5:20:48 PM

  14. So a guy in a movie quotes a girl who bullied him in high school by calling him a "theater fag," and this ruins the movie for people? It sure sounds like the movie is exploring the dark side of bullying. I mean, the character is a guy who was left crippled after being beaten by a group of high school bullies. I doubt the movie is pro-bullying or homophobic.

    As for gay slurs in Diablo Cody's other projects, I always found United States of Tara to be very gay friendly. As for the supposedly gay kids having gay slurs yelled at them in the show's depiction of a hellhouse, this was not homophobic in the least. It depicted just how hateful such hellhouses are, and the hellhouse and the church that put it on were the focus of constant derision and ridicule on the show.

    I'll never understand why some people deem a word offensive no matter the context.

    Posted by: shawnthesheep | Dec 10, 2011 9:21:21 PM

  15. Hey check out (and like) an awesome video interview with the talented actress Tilda Swinton, who currently stars in "We Need to Talk About Kevin" at:

    Posted by: Michelle | Dec 13, 2011 5:31:33 PM

  16. In Darkness is an excellent film. I saw it at a festival in November (where it was judged by audiences to be the best).

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