Oct 17, 2016
‘Blue Is The Warmest Color:’ The Academy Does Not Know What A Lesbian Is Or What It Is For
Gettin’ close to Oscar Time! Fancy foreign films! Breezy topics, too: the Khmer Rouge, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, bluegrass music, how hard it is to be accused of abusing a child (not a problematic film at all!). But where is Blue Is the Warmest Color? Where is our beloved French lesbian arthouse film?
Blue, in case you missed it, is about two queer French ladies in love, and all their trials in same. It is by not-queer-not-a-lady French director Abdellatif Kechiche, and stars not-queer French ladies Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux. The Academy’s ways are ever mysterious, and it is not for us mortals to divine why the Academy chooses one film over another, but sure, let’s try to read the bird entrails that tell us why the movie gods throw Oscars where they do. Everybody else is doing it.
Is it because the Academy hates subtitles? No, it is you who hate the subtitles. You are the jerk who walks up to the kid who works at Sundance and makes dumb non-jokes about how if you wanted to read, you would go to the library. The Academy loves subtitles because they show that a film is artsy and upper class, so don’t be silly.
Is it because the Academy loves labor? There have been a lot of complaints from the cast about how the director made them work sixteen hour work days that he billed as eight hour work days to try to get around labor laws, and both of the movie’s stars went public about how their director was kind of creepy and aggressive toward them. And in response to this, Kechiche has threatened to sue Seydoux for talking too loudly and too openly about her dispute with him. He doesn’t seem like a very nice man! So maybe the Academy has decided they can’t reward a man for his troubling behavior — haha, you’re being silly again, you may remember that this is the organization that regularly gobbles Roman Polanski’s knob and is all set to fellate Woody Allen again also too.
Is it because Blue is a really slow movie? When we agreed to watch this movie we did not know it was three hours long! And these long scenes are ones like the protagonist Adèle walking down the street with her hair mussed and her lips slightly parted, or Adèle scolding the grade school class she teaches for not being able to spell “onion.” So perhaps the Academy wished that Kechiche would have trimmed the fat a little. But that seems unlikely, because they pretty much wrote the dictionary entry for “artsy Oscar-winning movie” and it involves being long and ponderous, and we are a bunch of philistines who thought that Blue needed more ‘splosions in it.
Is it because the Academy consists entirely of lesbians and bisexuals? As you likely know as a connoisseur of sexytime lesbian movies, there has been a lot of foofaraw in the press about how much sex there is and of what kind and, most vitally, its authenticity (which is definitely what we worry about in our sex lives). For instance, is the lesbian sex in the movie the kind of sex lesbians actually like, or is it the kind of sex that straight men like to watch finger-quote “lesbians” having? Well, we have watched the movie and we also have lady parts and have had sex with ladies, so we feel free to opine that there are a lot of sexy positions that protagonists Adele and Emma end up in, but a lot of them are weird. For example, we feel fairly certain that no one has successfully scissored, anywhere, ever. And the sex scenes involve a lot more weird panting and undulating and extended licking than our sex does. But what is “real” lesbian sex anyway, and how do we know that even Authentic Lesbian Experience (TM) has not been hopelessly corrupted by the male gaze? Hold me, I’m scared!
Ah, but that’s not all! Bisexuals have been yelling about it too! Blue has been billed by the lamestream media as being about lesbians doing lesbian things, but the character Adèle never states outright that she is A Lesbian, or for that matter that she is A Anything. She shows real interest in two ladies and passing interest in two men. So maybe she is A Lesbian, because she likes women better. Or maybe she is A Bisexual, because she dates both. Or maybe she is confused – which is not the same thing as being bisexual, you jerks. Maybe instead Adèle is 18 years old and still working stuff out, and spends the latter half of the movie in a dead-end relationship that she wants to escape, and she’s got a cute boy making eyes at her at the same time, so sure, jump those bones.
We are pretty sure that this controversy right here is the best option for why this movie did not win anything. The Academy consists entirely of the Ani DiFranco fanclub, we have decided. We like this idea better than the idea that decisions about movie awards are arbitrary and meaningless, because that would leave us in a cold, terrifying, nihilistic universe.
UPDATE: or as Ali Davis points out, could just be that France didn’t submit it. Or any of those other things we said. Them too.