'Shame' director: Actor snubbed because America's afraid of sex
February 21st, 2012
03:39 PM ET

'Shame' director: Actor snubbed because America's afraid of sex

Michael Fassbender's turn in "Shame" was one of the resounding snubs from this year's Academy Award nominations, and the film's director, Steve McQueen, believes the prudes could be to blame.

Fassbender stars in the film as a sex addict, a part that required him to spend screen time in the buff. His performance in the "harrowing drama" was "mesmerizing," Entertainment Weekly said of the Oscars oversight, and cemented Fassbender as "one of the biggest breakout stars of 2011."

Director McQueen agreed that Fassbender had been overlooked by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, reportedly telling the Press Association, "In America, they're too scared of sex, that's why he wasn't nominated. If you look at the best actor list, you're saying, 'Michael Fassbender is not on the list?'"

Fassbender, 34, is "a once in a generation actor," McQueen continued. "He's an actor who can transform and transcend, and you actually believe him, so that's the kind of guy that he is."

There's also the Academy's prevailing demographic to consider. According to a Los Angeles Times study, the 5,000-plus voting members of the Academy are close to 94 percent Caucasian, are 77 percent male, and have a median age of 62.

If the demographics were more varied, said Academy member Alfre Woodard, perhaps "Shame" would have stood a better chance.

"Maybe if the median age was 45 to 50, a film like 'Shame' might show up, which I thought was a brilliantly rendered piece but a subject matter that you don't expect a certain older demographic would flock to see," she said.

Academy President Tom Sherak and other members tell the Times that they're aware of the organization's limited diversity, with writer-director Phil Alden Robinson saying, "we absolutely recognize that we need to do a better job."

But, he continued, "we start off with one hand tied behind our back...If the industry as a whole is not doing a great job in opening up its ranks, it's very hard for us to diversify our membership."

Either way, "Shame" director McQueen isn't sweating the snub. "It's kind of crazy," McQueen told the Press Association. "But that's how it is, it's an American award, let them have it."

Filed under: Awards Season • Oscars 2012

soundoff (16 Responses)

    The Director is a boring, dime a dozen anti-american bigot who thinks his overpraised film is worthy of our attention. It is not a shocking film. It is not a dirty film. It is an utterly boring film and that is why Americans did not like it. As much as I dig booty slapping, there is only so much of the same thing I can watch over and over – Man addicted to doing it. Gotcha. Man is interuptted by sister. Gotcha. Creepy European tension ensues. Gotcha. More booty slapping. Gotcha. I am bored.

    Perhaps the director should offer an interesting vision if he wishes Americans to embrace it. When it comes to S. E. X, we have cable honey. Not only have we seen it all. WE'VE DONE IT ALL. Listening to Brits pontificate about puritanical morality is a joke being they wrote the very book on it!

    March 10, 2012 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
  2. Rational Libertarian

    The Academy is a joke. They only nominate mainstream films and the usual Hollywood tripe. Look at The Descendents. Good, not great. Typical Hollywood fare. The best film (in my opinion anyway) to come out last year was Tyrannosaur. I suppose most people here never even heard of it.

    February 23, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Richard Fore

    He should have won an Oscar because he is HUNG like a BULL!

    February 22, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  4. mikrik13

    I saw the film. It was a stone cold bore. Maybe that is the reason.

    February 22, 2012 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
  5. Cecelia

    He sounds like a huge whiner. Perhaps the lack of a nominations had to do with the fact that there were people better derseving. Or perhaps they should have had better press/advertising for their film so that more people will see it. Honestly, he comes off sounding bitter and childish. Not everyone can get nominated. Now go boo hoo in a cup of tea and eat a crumpet and get over it.

    February 22, 2012 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Rational Libertarian

      When in doubt, resort to casual racism. How grown up.

      February 23, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Ken/Toronto

    SHAME was undoubtedly the most pretentiously directed and most over-rated and intellectually vapid film of the year, and Michael Fassbender's performance was leaden and ultimately VERY dull and inexplicable. I didn't see him rack up any acting wins from other awards groups or critics associations; why should he be considered for an Oscar? Mr. McQueen needs to reign in his artsy ego. P.S. Any chance I can get my $$$ refunded??

    February 22, 2012 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
  7. Bob

    I don't agree with the whole awards bull but unless I'm wrong here, I think there have been several 'risque' performances that were nominated for Oscars before (I'm thinking Kate Winslet in 'The Reader', also a non-American, by the way). I agree that Fassbender was incredible in 'Shame' but it's a pretty lame excuse. And by suggesting that he should've been nominated, he's inadvertantly suggesting one of the actual nominees should not have been – I'd love to hear who you think that is, Mr. McQueen.

    February 22, 2012 at 7:32 am | Report abuse |
  8. carrieanne

    Shame was snubbed because it sucks! I walked out after 15 minutes and I never walk out on movies!

    February 22, 2012 at 12:54 am | Report abuse |
  9. lol

    The demographics of Oscar voters is just more proof into how little the Oscars matter now. Lame and a waste of time.

    February 21, 2012 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
  10. T.rex

    Well, it might be that, or it might be the simple fact that we, in America, for the most part have not even heard of this film. That might've had something to do with it... Maybe do some better marketing and distribution before trying to insult an entire country.

    February 21, 2012 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
  11. be quiet

    The word "snub" implies you expected to be nominated. Guess what, maybe you shouldn't. Demian Bichir was extraordinary in A Better Life, and deserved the nomination.

    February 21, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
  12. sherry

    Say what? In American s@x sells, it sells everything, It is everywhere. The only people in American afraid of s@x is the people in the media, that way they can use it to their own agenda.

    February 21, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  13. tracie


    February 21, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Richard Fore

    Afraid of s@x? Only if its with girls.

    February 21, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |

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