By Matt Singer | Criticwire October 2, 2012 at 4:56PM
At The Daily Beast -- or "Sexy Beast" as the masthead reads, appropriately in this case -- Marlow Stern notes the one thing many of this year's highest profile Oscar contenders have in common: kinky sex.
"Whereas last year, amid all the priggish costume dramas, the only film during awards season that got movie-going audiences all hot and bothered was the NC-17-rated 'Shame'... this year’s batch of Oscar hopefuls boasts a plethora of sex acts ranging from the impressive to the downright bizarre. Call it the 'Fifty Shades of Grey' effect."
I'm not sure we can actually connect the sexual content of all these movies to the popularity of one book, and I'm definitely not ready to declare some kind of sea change in pop culture's erotic content -- but at the very least, it is curious to observe how many so-called "prestige pictures" are getting prestigiously naughty, and in such similar ways. A film professor of mine once said three cinematic examples bunched together officially make a trend, so with the funny business in "The Master," "On the Road," and "Hyde Park on Hudson" we have an clear and undeniable hand-job trend in 2012's Oscar movies. If these films do wind up fighting over Academy Awards, the nominee clips on Oscar night are going to look like a Mr. Skin highlight reel.
I've got to hand it to Stern -- I couldn't resist, I'm sorry -- this is something I hadn't picked up on yet, in part because several of the movies he cites are months from release and press screenings. But I'll be keeping my eyes peeled this fall for more examples (purely for, um, research purposes). What's next? Will the team from "Argo" sneak into Iran masquerading as the crew from a porno film? Will the French revolution in "Les Miserables" include a sexual revolution to boot? Will Honest Abe get dishonest in a Ford Theater bathroom? At this point, anything seems possible.