Mr. Bachelor, I was very bemused by your article last Tuesday because there were several points that bothered me. One was the notion that movies with “shockvalue” are only made to win Oscars, which may be true in few cases, but it is not true in any of the examples that you mentioned.
The reason these movies may be considered “shocking” is because of the views of society as a whole in the times the movies were made. These movies are made as a vehicle for social change, not for “shock value”. For example, Brokeback Mountain is a story about two people whose love cannot be fully realized. Unlike the typical gay male stereotype, not all homosexuals are flamboyant, promiscuous drag queens, they are real people and they can love. This movie brought forth real issues; and look at all the controversy it caused? It got people to talk and think-THAT is the point. It wasn’t made forshock value. You also said that some people may do anything for an Oscar. Which
may be true, but the real truth is that one can’t really tell what script will turn out to be a good or bad movie. There are multitudes of horrible movies; do youreally think that producers would spend millions of dollars on a flop?
As a theatre major, I know all too well that you can read a script, think its great and once you get actors up on stage, it may not work. You can attack it from every angle, but it may just not be good. This works visa versa as well. Therefore, I doubt that Halle Berry or Jake Gyllenhaal really had those conversations (or anything like it) with their agents or casting director.
Finally, people ultimately do win Oscars for great performances. People have the right to disagree (I don’t think Halle Berry should have ever won anything), but more often than not, one can’t deny that they at least did an amazing job. Actors win Oscars because they play roles that are far from themselves and extremely demanding.
For example, I don’t believe that I will
ever see Meg Ryan star in poignant southern drama about a young woman dealing racism, feministic men and her growth into her own sexuality. No. I will see her in a romantic comedy. She does it well; she has been “pigeon-holed” as we say.
But maybe if she did do a movie where she was cast out of her type and she did well, then perhaps she might win an Oscar. Not everyone who gets an Oscar gets it for “shock value” roles. What about Philip Seymour Hoffman as Capote or Reese
Witherspoon in Walk the Line? What did they do that was so shocking? The only thing that I found shocking about their performances was the refined talent and characterization that I didn’t know was even in them. I would fully explain through all the examples you have given, but I’m sure I can’t take up the whole opinions page.