Is ‘A Star Is Born’ too apolitical & white to win any Oscars this year?

Sam Elliott's hand and footprint ceremony

For a brief moment back in 2017, it felt like the Academy finally did the right thing. Of course, they bungled that moment too. I’m speaking of the moment that the Academy voted for Moonlight for Best Picture instead of La La Land. First they had to give the Oscar to LLL in one of the biggest screw-ups in Oscar history. Then when Moonlight did win, people acted like they should share the f–king award. No. Moonlight was a better film that year, and it actually *said* something about about the African-American experience and the gay experience. So, here’s the question: will A Star Is Born get La La Land’d? If the Golden Globes are any indication – and they increasingly are – A Star Is Born peaked too early, and Academy voters will be looking to vote for films that “say something.”

“A Star Is Born” was snubbed by the Golden Globes and faces an uphill battle for the Oscars, because the movie is an oft-told story, with no political angle: A straight, white couple (played by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper) falls in love. “Roma,” Alfonso Cuarón’s story about the plight of an indigenous domestic servant in Mexico City, is even money to win the Academy Award for Best Picture on Feb. 24. (The nominations will be announced Jan. 22.)

“Roma” leads “A Star Is Born” at 2½-1, “Green Book” at 5-1, and “Bohemian Rhapsody” at 7-1, according to R.J. Bell, founder of Bell, who makes the odds for the Associated Press, told me, “The odds move significantly because of the Golden Globes.”

Cuarón, who won the Best Director Globe, is now a prohibitive 80 percent favorite to win the Best Director Oscar. (You would have to wager $5 to win $1 on Cuarón.)

The academy, which faced #OscarsSoWhite protests four years ago, has added hundreds of minorities and women to its voting membership.

“Among the five favorites, the three that are the most ‘woke’ — ‘Roma,’ ‘Green Book’ and ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ — are surging,” oddsmaker Danny Sheridan told me. Mahershala Ali, of “Green Book,” and Rami Malek, of “Bohemian Rhapsody,” both won Golden Globes and are favored to win Oscars. Regina King, of “If Beale Street Could Talk,” is a such a favorite to nab another statue for best supporting actress, you would have to bet $1.75 to win $1. The closest race will be Best Actress, where Glenn Close, with a feminist message in “The Wife,” is favored to beat Olivia Colman (“The Favourite”) and Lady Gaga.

“It’s a three-horse race,” Bell said. And the woke-est horse will win.

[From Page Six]

GREEN BOOK IS NOT WOKE. It is not woke at all, people. It glosses over race relations in the early 1960s by making the white racist dude the protagonist. That being said, I agree that however problematic I find Green Book, it got a HUGE Oscar boost with the Globes. I also agree that A Star Is Born will likely be hurt by the fact that it’s *just* a somewhat conventional and overdone tragic love story starring white people.

Personally, I enjoy the fact that none of the Oscar races seem settled at all. No one can even come up with a concrete guaranteed shortlist for any of the Oscar nominees either – like, will Emily Blunt get nominated? Will all of the women from The Favourite get nominated? Will both Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen get nominated from Green Book? No one knows. In fact, I think the only thing that is for sure is that ASIB peaked months too early.

Sam Elliott's hand and footprint ceremony

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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74 Responses to “Is ‘A Star Is Born’ too apolitical & white to win any Oscars this year?”

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  1. Snazzy says:

    Ugh maybe it’s the fact that it’s the 4th remake of the same bloody movie? I cannot understand the excitement around this movie.

    • A says:

      Just a mediocre movie.

      • jay says:

        I am so terminally uninterested in any plot line where a woman doesn’t acquire success or self esteem until a man tells her she’s beautiful. It was an old beaten horse in 2018 and the horse is now dead so RIP STUPID SEXIST HORSE I WON’T MISS YOU.

    • adastraperaspera says:

      Yes, I think this is the major challenge for the movie.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      The last version was made 42 years ago! I don’t understand the umbrage about it being a remake. That is so common in theater and film…it’s essential to storytelling that tales are handed down. I’m so used to seeing the same stories retold in different settings, i.e. doing Romeo & Juliet in Mexico during Mayan rule or in the future in outer space. Sometimes creatives are stretched by doing something totally new, and sometimes they are stretched by putting their own mark on a classic story.

      Additionally, it isn’t shocking to me that the theme of “You love someone enough to make them sober” is resonating with audiences in 2018/2019. Addiction and self destruction are rampant in our society and this story and this take seem very apt for our times from my perspective.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        Typo! Should read:
        “it isn’t shocking to me that the theme of “You CAN’T love someone enough to make them sober” is resonating with audiences in 2018/2019.”

    • MyBlackCats says:

      Would have been better if they were friends, not a long drawn out one night stand. The sexuality made it all feel transactional, yuck. 2018 could have stepped in to make the plot more relevant.

    • Justme87 says:

      I actually loved the movie. I’ve always been annoyed by Gaga and I left the theater with a newfound love for her, i thought she did a fantastic job with the role. Superficially it also made me realize how beautiful she is when I’ve never thought that before. I will say I’ve never seen any of the previous movies so maybe that’s why my opinion seems to be against the norm.

  2. Ashley says:

    Star is Born is the FOURTH version of the SAME STORY.It should lose for that reason alone.Plus this version is more about him than her compared to other versions,really it should be called A Star Has Fallen.

  3. Aimee says:

    I thought it was good but not really “Best Picture” worthy. I hope BC and LG lower their expectations.

    • Silent Star says:

      I also really liked the movie, but Oscar worthy? Nah. As soon as I left theater I knew it wasn’t going to get the biggest awards.

      But I do think it’s nicely done and will age well as the years go on.

  4. Tiffany says:

    I want the coat that Gaga is wearing.

  5. Oc says:

    IMO the film is good but not worthy of any award. Maybe for the song and that’s it.

    • Eleonor says:

      In the end it is a remake, even if a good one, of a film who has been redone multiple times over the years.

    • pru says:

      That’s how I feel about it too. Entertaining movie, fine performances, not award worthy.

  6. Miles says:

    It’s the fourth remake. I don’t even know how it’s gotten this far considering The Academy rejects CBM because they are “unoriginal” and yet a fourth remake is in the running for best picture?

    • Algernon says:

      They reject comic book movies because they’re “kids” movies and most of them aren’t *that* good. The only cbms that should have been up for real Oscars and not just sound/VFX are The Dark Knight and, now, Black Panther. Even Logan was overrated but it was different enough to stand out.

      • Miles says:

        No they reject CBM because they claim that they’re not original. I don’t know how you can claim that they’re “kids” movies when they’re rated PG-13 and some of them rated R. And The Academy nominates not “good” movies all the time. If movies like Greenbook and Vice and BR can get nominations in one year, not sure why CBM should get left out.

      • Maddie says:

        The academy has nominated a kids movie before though (beauty and the beast), so I don’t think that’s the reason.

  7. Lili says:

    Moonlight was a shitty movie! Sorry it did not deserve best picture

    • Tiffany says:

      If that is the case, neither did La La Land.

    • Wasabi says:

      Disagree. It was great and the cinematography was amazing!

    • MyBlackCats says:

      Moonlight was beautiful. Life changing. WhoTF would even have watched LaLaLand about a white guy who invented jazz. Never had the desire to pay for that bs. Moonlight. Yes.

    • Lithe says:

      Moonlight was original, attention-grabbing from the first scene, great soundtrack, magnificent lighting—and absolutely topnotch acting. Totally deserving of Best Picture!

  8. Div says:

    The problem with La La Land wasn’t that it was conventional or had two main white characters—the issue was that the white guy was depicted as the “savior” of jazz, music created by Black folks, and from which many white folks were “inspired” (and in some cases outright stole) the sounds of Black folks without ever giving proper credit. And in the film, the Black guy was seen as “perverting” jazz while the white guy “saved” it. Furthermore, it took place in L.A. but nearly all of the background and supporting characters were white; the exception being John Legend, who only had a handful of lines, and Emma’s roommate who had like one line. Plus, Moonlight was simply a superior film.

    I don’t think A Star is Born should win best picture even if I thought it was very well done, because there were superior films (The Favourite, If Beale Street Could Talk, and Roma) and it was the fourth retread of a very familiar story. But I also think it’s unfair to say it has La La Land’s issue with race (it doesn’t have the white savior schtick, L.A. isn’t seen as mostly white, and half of the supporting characters are POC).

    I do like films with a message or one that captures an experience, but as long as it is well done and doesn’t have an obvious cringey issue (misogyny, racism, whitewashing) I don’t have an issue with a film without a deeper meaning winning awards. Like I’m fine with the Favourite winning…

    *I tried to explain to a white friend once how well-meaning white, liberal white folks can still not get it when it comes to representation. This Page Six bit is a classic bit, with white folks patting themselves on the back for “being woke” by nominating Green Book and claiming A Star is Born is “unwoke.” As a Black woman, I can tell you neither story is woke and only one of them has a racial blind spot, and it isn’t A Star is Born. And if they truly wanted to honor films with a deeper meaning, honor diversity, and not reward white mediocrity they would give Barry Jenkins and Chloe Zhao, who both directed films that were successful and more critically lauded, awards over Peter Farrelly and Adam McKay.

    • Mel says:

      My problem with the movie was mainly that a) Ryan’s character was kind of an ass and b) I don’t understand hiring two people who have minimal singing and dancing talent to star in a musical. It’s not charming and it makes the music non eventful.

    • BC says:

      I like this breakdown @Div.

  9. Frida_K says:

    God bless, but Bradley Cooper honestly reminds me of Liberace in the top picture.

    I do not understand why anyone would think fillers in the cheeks are attractive. Maybe if you are into chipmunk cosplay, sure, but otherwise? How is this attractive?

    • Div says:

      He’s really messed badly with his face. I don’t understand why he did that at all, it’s not like he’s facing the pressure to look young like most actresses his age.

    • sid says:

      It forever amazes me that the plastic surgery and facial procedures all the celebs were getting back in the 40s and 50s were so much more flattering and natural looking than now, when techniques are more advanced and you would expect better results.

    • PitaBites says:

      Omg i was about to make this comment I even searched for pics of Liberace to make sure I was not just confused. He looks so bad, hope he stops now, he could be a very attractive old man someday.

      • TurkeyLurkey says:

        I’ve been seeing a Barry Manilow look to Bradley Cooper, and now I can’t unsee it.

    • Imeanreally says:

      Almost didn’t recognize him. I don’t understand why aging men do this. IMO most men improve with age thanks to the lines and creases bestowed by Mother Nature. It’s called “ruggedly handsome.”

  10. Dee says:

    “Isn’t woke enough” 😂 I love when white people try too hard to be “woke”. Funny stuff.

  11. Honey bear says:

    Yeah, that’s what I want. Movies to win just because they have minority actors/directors instead of the best film. Let’s be honest, in the last few years, some unworthy films have been nominated or won for this reason alone.

    • eto says:

      Please stop.

    • Sheryl says:

      So true. It is not about how well the acting is anymore it has become something entirely different now.

      • eto says:

        When has it ever been just about the acting? Think about what you’re saying for ~2 seconds.

      • Wasabi says:

        Lol. It always been about studios, campaigns and money, money, money. Aka privelege. Yet white folks start feeling oppressed again, as soon as the spotlight is not directed at them 100% of the time.

    • Tania says:

      If honesty were on the table, Julie Roberts, Sandra Bullock, Emma Stone, Jennifer Lawrence should not have Oscars for the years that they won because they were not the best.

      They ran the better campaigns. Oscars are not about rewarding the best people doing the best jobs. They’re about who can hire the best strategists and come up with the best messages.

      But sure, you do you!

      • jan90067 says:

        It is NEVER “the best”. It’s always, as you say, who *schmoozes* the best, who “plays the best campaign game/shakes the most hands”, who has the studio $$$$$ behind them, or who they feel is “due” to win (someone who was “robbed” before due to someone else’s better politicking). It’s a shame, but it’s never about “best” anything.

      • Aoife says:

        Sounds like a totally pointless exercise then.

      • Karen says:

        Exactly. That group ran the best campaign and rewarded by the studios for their cumulative box office.I will say though that Jennifer Lawrence was fabulous in Winter’s Bone.

  12. Goofpuff says:

    Forget woke regrads to politics or racism. How about a film that should be about the woman and not about the man. I’d like to see a version where the woman isn’t secondary character who never seems to grow while he is afforded all dramatic stuff. She should have left his ass and all the controlling men in her life instead of letting them walk all over her. Yet she never grows – remains child-like to the end – just a supporting character to Jack.

  13. Ellie says:

    I’m all about diversity in movies, but regardless if it’s a “white” love story or “black” or any other race love story, if it’s a good one, it’s a good one and should be rewarded. I’ve watched so many beautiful movies with love stories from all different countries, India, Asia, Mexico etc. and i’d never criticize it because the couples weren’t white.

    Personally I thought A Star is Born was fantastic. A movie shouldn’t be punished because it’s about two white musicians falling in love it’s ridiculous! I think everyone, including those who determine the winners of movies are so afraid to vote “wrong” and be criticized instead of looking for where the talent truly lies. Talent is talent, regardless of one’s skin color.

  14. Sheryl says:

    Just wondering if ASIB had a black couple falling in love it would be eligible then? Just not sure what them being white has to do with anything right now when we are talking about how well someone acted.

  15. Keira Williams says:

    Has anyone caught the compilations of Gaga saying the same line in dozens of interviews: “There can be a hundred people in the room and 99 don’t believe in you, but just one does, and it can change your life”? Sandra Oh latched onto it at the Golden Globes.

    I thought Gaga was more of an original than that!?!

    • molly says:

      I think the original press tour actually HURT the movie by award season. It was exhausting to see Bradly and Gaga fake slobber all over each other in faux admiration saying the same thing for weeks. I’m exhausted by the movie, and I didn’t even see it.

  16. Mel says:

    I don’t think that’s the problem, it just wasn’t that good. Frankly, this could have been a cable movie, I would have been mad if I spent money to see it, in spite of all the hype, in the end, it’s just not that good. Also, the “performances” belonged to Sam Elliott and Bradley Cooper, she played herself( not that well) and throwing an Oscar nom at her is ridiculous.

    • pru says:

      The only word that comes to mind when thinking about her acting is “believable”. And that’s only when she can show off her musical talents, because that’s really where her talents really lie.

    • Kage says:

      Thank you. I commend bc for taking this on, not being a musician. Gaga sang fabulously, and they both wrote some amazing songs.

      But the movie was simply not that good. I wanted so badly to like it, but the ending was so predictable, and the final moment they tried to make very “Bodyguard-esque”, and tearjerk-ey.

      Like u said bc & elliot gave great subtle performances. But i think bc ruined his chances by overdoing the press tour.

      Lala Land had nice cinematography but emma and ryan ruined it for me by struggling painfully with the dancing/singing. Fun movie, not deserving of any awards

  17. pru says:

    Am I the only one distracted by the cuffs on his pants in the top picture?

  18. Ada says:

    I really don’t understand the eyerolls here on about ASIB being a remake. In that case all the samey comments about disqualifying it for being a remake should be deleted too? But seriously, I thought it was a beautifully and often quite subtly directed film. BC is clearly cineliterate and I think the fact that so many seem to dislike the film has more to do with the campaign than the movie itself. I would choose its music and gender politics over La La Land any day.

  19. BC says:

    I think representation and inclusivity is so so so important. I wish i could remember her exact quote but i love what the lady from Greys Anatomy said (her name escapes me), to paraphrase: when i walk into a room (as an actress), i want to see a (work)place that reflects what i see in my day to day life, that reflects the world i live in. End of paraphrasing. Believe it or not, it is exclusivity that promotes ignorance and stereotypes which in turn promotes racism. The less you see of a people, the quicker you are to judge them. How many black children can now hope to be presidents of the US because of Barack? Representation is important in every sphere and those denying it and demanding that we ignore it are simply too privileged to comprehend the magnamity of the situation in a world where the sight of a black person still evokes fear and violence even from the police instead of normalcy.

    Which is why i vowed to never watch a film if half the cast are not persons of color. And im now including behind the camera crew as well. I may not control awards but i can control where my money goes. It may be a drop in the ocean, but just like a vote, it is my participation in the resistance, it is my rallying call for change. Granted, i will still not watch a film that is degrading to my race simply because it has plenty of persons of color either but i digress.

    Allow me and forgive me for this next example. When children are differently abled, we take them to schools with what we call other “normal” kids. And we make the place accomodating to them. Im in no way comparing differently abled persons to PoCs. But i am saying that the playing field isnt fair. Most PoCs infront of and behind the camera struggle to break through the entertainment industry let alone get financing for their stories. In a world (Hollywood) where connections through nepotism make up the networks, they are doomed before they start. Often they have to settle for degrading roles just to make ends meet. I could write about this for the whole day but lets just say, i dont mind if some kind of affirmative action is being used to award films these days because for one, its long overdue and two, if its not done, then the same same same circle of people will keep winning and three, thats not reflective of the world we live in unless youre stuck in the 1800s.

    • Sheryl says:

      Then you cannot watch any movies. Because if indeed you want how your country looks its not just black and white. It is Asian, Indian, South American etc. There is not one film out there who hires all the different ethnic people on each movie. It appears that you will not be watching any movies for a long time. As well I am not sure are Asians, Middle Eastern, Jews persons of color?

    • horseandhound says:

      I completely disagree. I don’t care if a movie is all black, all white, all Japanese, all Indian….people should be free to tell stories they want to tell and not forcefully create characters so that every group would have one of their own in the movie. I didn’t expect moonlight to have half white cast. FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION!
      and about ASIB… I don’t care for bradley nor for gaga, but if something makes me happy about that film it’s the fact that it’s not identity politics, it’s a personal story, it’s about individuals, not groups. I want to watch more movies with stories about people and not about an agenda.

    • Louise says:

      Just curious did you watch Crazy Rich Asian’s and Black Panther? Because they do not fit your definition of inclusion.

    • Aoife says:

      I quite often want to watch a film purely for escapism purposes and absolutely not to see the world I live in every day on the screen!

  20. pleaseicu says:

    Green Book is definitely not woke. And isn’t the Shirley family on record as having major major issues with the film? I wish If Beale Street Could Talk was getting the love that Green Book is getting.

    As for ASIB, it’s not too apolitical or too white. I mean, it is, but that wouldn’t be a deterrent with Academy or Guild voters. While the Academy has taken steps to address diversity over the past couple years it’s not like the changes were widespread enough to really make a huge difference (beyond PR optics) right now. It’s better than it was but it’s still not great. Maybe in a few years it’ll make an actual difference if they keep up with inviting substantive numbers of diverse voters as the old white men that make up the old guard pass on. Even with the new more diverse invitations that were given out the past couple years, I believe the Academy is still like 85% Caucasian and 70% male. So, yep, adding Ryan Coogler, Patty Jenkins, Viola Davis or Steven Yeun to the voting branches is really gonna prevent films from the straight while males from succeeding.

    I think the ASIB awards campaign just peaked too soon. The studio, LG, BC have been out selling this film almost nonstop for months. Hollywood loves to award films about the entertainment industry. Even a decent to good 4th remake of a film about a white heterosexual couple and “tortured artist” white guy in the entertainment industry. But Hollywood is also about the latest shiny new thing as well.

    Is there anything new left to say about the film to catch voters’ attentions amidst the flood of awards campaigns from other contenders? The studio spent all their PR capital months before. They don’t have anything left in the tank to give it the edge against the fresher narratives that other films/actors/actresses/directors have to play right now.

  21. liriel says:

    For some time you knew exactly what kind of movie got an award.
    I’m afraid that Oscars are too political to the point it’s OTT.

  22. Lea says:

    I don’t know if A Star is Born deserves an Oscar or not. Not sure.
    I think Gaga deserves some kind of recognition though because she is amazing in this movie. She doesn’t overdo it, she looks sincere and vulnerable.
    Just compare her to Mariah Carey in Glitter.
    The previous version of a star is born is with Barbra Streisand, and as far as I know it was not nearly as good as this one.

    Oh and to finish : Gaga is gorgeous in this pic,

  23. M says:

    To say that Green Book is getting more buzz because it’s “woke” is such bullshit. It’s gotten more buzz because it’s studio is spending more money to get it more publicity, plan and simple. A Star is Born’s problem isn’t that it’s a love story between two white people, it’s that its status as the “frontrunner” was too soon and it peaked.

    Let’s be real here: neither Green Book or Bohemian Rhapsody are woke, they’re just running good awards campaigns. If the Academy truly wanted to reward movies that handle race/gender/sexuality/etc. with sensitivity and grace or are political, and are also GOOD, then there are a bunch of movies out that would have more Best Picture buzz– If Beale Street Could Talk, Black Panther, the Favourite, Black Klansman, Crazy Rich Asians, Widows, Can You Ever Forgive Me, Boy Erased, etc. Hell, there’s probably a dozen other movies that belong in that list that I don’t know about because their studios/producers don’t have the money to run Oscar campaigns.

  24. M says:

    It’s the exact same with the director race. Why is Alfonso Cuarón the favorite to win? Because Netflix is distributing Roma. Netflix has the money, and they REALLY want that Oscar, so they are spending as much money as possible to sustain buzz about Cuarón.

    And not to take down Cuarón– I enjoyed Roma and thought it was very well made– but again, if the Academy wanted to make the political/woke/correct (IMHO) choice, this would be Spike Lee’s award to lose. Instead, Cuarón will likely win his second Oscar in five years.

  25. SpillDatT says:

    No interest in this movie. And yes, you can have remakes, but what’s the point when it’s the same story every single time with nothing groundbreaking added?

    I do not care at all for Gaga. The as$kissing everyone is doing for her acting skills is just to get ppl interested in their articles (not this site), tv, awards shows etc. She’s not that great of an actress.

    As for the song, I’ll cut off my ears if I have to listen to her wailing on that dumb Shallow or whatever song it is.

    They don’t deserve any nominations, let alone wins. If the Oscars want to give it to a better mainstream movie, they could give it to Black Panther which truly broke some ground. ASIB can suck it.

  26. Mia says:

    Let’s all not forget that this film is a remake of a remake of a remake and follows on from the goddess who is Barbara….no comparison.