The movie which had gone into the annual awards season as one of the favorites failed to get a single nod from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the host of the glitzy showpiece.
The story of a black man from the south who served eight American presidents over three decades in the White House received nominations from the actors union on Wednesday for best ensemble, lead actor for Forest Whitaker and supporting actress for Oprah Winfrey.
The film, which opened this summer, earned mixed reviews and came under fire for its portrayal of former President Ronald Reagan as being racist, in part because he was not in favor of imposing economic sanctions on South Africa, and for casting Jane Fonda as Nancy Reagan. It grossed $116 million at the box office.
Making the decision more startling is that the Golden Globes has nominations for both dramatic movies and for musicals or comedies, doubling the amount of nominations of most other award shows.
The Foreign Press Association instead chose “12 Years a Slave,” “Gravity,” “Captain Phillips,” “Rush,” and “Philomena” ahead of “The Butler,” in the dramatic category.
Following the Globe announcements at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, there were several startled responses to “The Butler” snub.
“Well, the HFPA was clearly not having this movie at all!” said New York magazine, adding, “Just a complete and total shutout across the board.”
Director Daniels revealed to The Hollywood Reporter last month that he initially had trouble getting financing for the film, which was based on a story by Washington Post reporter Wil Hargood, who tracked down then-89-year-old former White House butler Eugene Allen for a piece celebrating President Barack Obama’s election.
In that story, Allen fondly recalled first lady Nancy Reagan inviting him and his wife to a state dinner. “She said, ‘You and Helene are coming to the state dinner as guests of President Reagan and myself,” he told Hargood.
“I’m telling you! I believe I’m the only butler to get invited to a state dinner,” he grinned.
Once again, true to form, the film industry is celebrating the two latest gay and lesbian flicks, both featuring torrid affairs between an adult and a teenager, while at the same time there are howls of protest across America because an 18-year-old girl has been charged with crimes because of her sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl. What a coincidence!
In France, there was such enthusiasm for a pornographic lesbian film that the top award at the Cannes Film Festival was given to both the director and the two leading actresses. Blue Is the Warmest Colourwon the best film prize, nominated by a jury led by none other than Steven Spielberg and Nicole Kidman.
The movie, which features scenes that leave nothing to the imagination, tells the story of a 15-year-old girl who falls in love with an older woman. But not to worry—the age of consent in France is already 15.
Here in America, HBO aired the original movie Behind the Candelabra, hailed as “a moving and beautifully made film that traces the clandestine half-decade romance between Vegas showman and pianist Liberace and his much, much younger live-in boyfriend Scott Thorson.”
The film, which features Michael Douglas as Liberace and Matt Damon as Thorson, was reportedly deemed “too gay” to be successful by other studios, hence its airing on HBO. (In today’s gay-happy media culture, saying that the film was considered “too gay” is saying a lot.) Thorson became Liberace’s live-in lover when he was just 17.
Isn’t it fascinating that all these LGBT films are so incredibly good—or could there be a little bias in the movie industry?
Back to the real world. While these movies were airing, a national campaign was gaining steam on behalf of Kaitlyn Hunt, aged 18, who was charged with committing statutory rape and molestation on her 14-year-old girlfriend.
Why the national outrage over this case? Aren’t 18-year-old boys regularly charged with statutory rape for having sex with their younger girlfriends? Why aren’t we hearing about national protests on behalf of these young men?
It’s simple. They were charged with heterosexual offenses, while Kaitlyn Hunt’s case involved lesbian sex—and so it can only be “hate” that is driving the prosecution against her.
Robby C., commenting on my article “Immorality Is Trending,” wrote, “So being gay is immoral? An 18-year-old and 14-year-old being in love is immoral? What’s wrong with you people. Love is love. Leave the poor girl alone and stop being bigots and hateful.”
Kaitlyn’s father, Steven, has launched a petition calling on the assistant state attorney to “stop the prosecution of an 18 year old girl in a same-sex relationship,” which begs the question: Why bring up the fact that it’s a same-sex relationship?
The petition also claims that “Kailtyn’s girlfriend’s parents are pressing charges because they are against the same-sex relationship, even though their daughter has stated that this is a consensual relationship.” How utterly hateful of them!
Kaitlyn’s mother claims “the parents of the 14-year-old who pressed charges are ‘out to destroy my daughter [because] they feel like my daughter “made” their daughter gay,’ and these ‘bigoted, religious’ parents ‘see being gay as a sin and wrong, and they blame my daughter.’” (How dare these parents not give full approval to their 14-year-old’s lesbian affair!)
As for the laws in question, one signer of the petition had this to say: “If this is an event you feel strongly about, and would like to see the decay of these archaic laws striking down children for being children then please take a few seconds out of your day to sign the petition to aid Kate Hunt in her search for justice.” As the Facebook page cries out, “Stop the Hate, Free Kate.”
Lost in most news reporting is that the younger girl’s parents, Jim and Laurie Smith (he’s white, she’s black), told WPEC-TV reporter Jana Eschbach that they “had twice asked Hunt to leave their daughter alone, and only went to police after a January incident in which their daughter ran away and spent the night at Hunt’s house.” And they made clear that they would have done the same had their daughter taken off with an 18-year-old boy.
But why should we believe them? After all, they must be hateful bigots. The talking points say so.
Interestingly, the 1972 gay rights platform called for the “repeal of all laws governing the age of sexual consent,” while in 2010, British gay activist Peter Tatchell argued that “the best way to protect our children from sexual abuse is paradoxically to give them more sexual freedom.” Furthermore, “Age of consent laws vary from state to state in the U.S., with the majority being 16 and some ranging as high as 18, but Tatchell says they should all be lowered to 14.”