Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Specialty Box Office: 'True Story' and 'Child 44' Flop as 'Ex Machina' Lures Audiences Specialty Box Office: 'True Story' and 'Child 44' Flop as 'Ex Machina' Lures Audiences Tribeca Film Festival Matches George Lucas with Stephen Colbert: “I’m gonna tear you a new one, George" Tribeca Film Festival Matches George Lucas with Stephen Colbert: “I’m gonna tear you a new one, George" 10 Films Booed at Cannes That Every Cinephile Should See 10 Films Booed at Cannes That Every Cinephile Should See 5 Things You Didn't Know About Lars von Trier, Who's Going Back to Work 5 Things You Didn't Know About Lars von Trier, Who's Going Back to Work The Eerie Connection Between 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' and 'Tomorrowland' The Eerie Connection Between 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' and 'Tomorrowland' Digging Into the Cannes Lineup: More Vet Auteurs and Women, No Netflix Digging Into the Cannes Lineup: More Vet Auteurs and Women, No Netflix Ryan Gosling in Talks for 'Blade Runner' Sequel, Damien Chazelle's 'La La Land' Ryan Gosling in Talks for 'Blade Runner' Sequel, Damien Chazelle's 'La La Land' You Can Now Read Over 200,000 Leaked Sony Emails and Documents You Can Now Read Over 200,000 Leaked Sony Emails and Documents Watch: The New 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' Trailer Has Landed Watch: The New 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' Trailer Has Landed Watch the Teaser Trailer for Quentin Tarantino's 'Hateful Eight' Watch the Teaser Trailer for Quentin Tarantino's 'Hateful Eight' Russia Bans Tom Hardy Thriller 'Child 44,' "A Bloody Mass of Orcs and Ghouls" Russia Bans Tom Hardy Thriller 'Child 44,' "A Bloody Mass of Orcs and Ghouls" Watch: This Exclusive Tribeca Trailer Promises a Vérité Southern Gothic in Malick Vein Watch: This Exclusive Tribeca Trailer Promises a Vérité Southern Gothic in Malick Vein 7 Things to Learn from 'Mad Men' Creator Matthew Weiner About Compelling Storytelling (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO) 7 Things to Learn from 'Mad Men' Creator Matthew Weiner About Compelling Storytelling (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO) 'Queen of Earth,' Starring a Gloriously Unhinged Elisabeth Moss, Goes to IFC 'Queen of Earth,' Starring a Gloriously Unhinged Elisabeth Moss, Goes to IFC LA Film Fest Adds 10 Buzzy Indies and First-Ever TV Gala to Lineup LA Film Fest Adds 10 Buzzy Indies and First-Ever TV Gala to Lineup Cary Fukunaga Takes Over Long-Stalled 'The Alienist' as TV Series Cary Fukunaga Takes Over Long-Stalled 'The Alienist' as TV Series Why the Istanbul Film Festival Cancelled Its 2015 Competition Why the Istanbul Film Festival Cancelled Its 2015 Competition The Dramatic Story Behind Satyajit Ray's 50s Masterpiece 'The Apu Trilogy' (Exclusive) The Dramatic Story Behind Satyajit Ray's 50s Masterpiece 'The Apu Trilogy' (Exclusive) The New Ladder: Anatomy of Indie Women's Picture 'Farah Goes Bang' The New Ladder: Anatomy of Indie Women's Picture 'Farah Goes Bang' Lars von Trier's Last Cannes Q & A: "Stupid" Statements, Melancholia, "I Am Not a Nazi," Dunst, Cruz Lars von Trier's Last Cannes Q & A: "Stupid" Statements, Melancholia, "I Am Not a Nazi," Dunst, Cruz

Godard Anti-Semitism Issue Clouds Honorary Oscar

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood November 4, 2010 at 5:00AM

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences may be regretting its decision to award Jean-Luc Godard, 79, an honorary Oscar on November 13. First, it seemed that the French-Swiss filmmaker indicated might not show up. Then he allowed that he might. Then he admitted that he couldn't.
2
Thompson on Hollywood

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences may be regretting its decision to award Jean-Luc Godard, 79, an honorary Oscar on November 13. First, it seemed that the French-Swiss filmmaker indicated might not show up. Then he allowed that he might. Then he admitted that he couldn't.

Now the always-controversial New Wave critic-turned-filmmaker--who has never hesitated to stir the pot in Europe--is provoking protest again, reports the NYT. I got a query from The Toronto Star asking about reaction to Godard's anti-Semitism (here's their story). I said that I hadn't picked up on any negative response in Hollywood along those lines.

The Academy has a sizable Liberal, Jewish membership. And clearly Mel Gibson's anti-Semitic rantings have not endeared him with Hollywood; he lost a job on The Hangover Part II because cast members didn't want to work with him.

Industry folks respect and admire Godard as a hugely influential filmmaker/provocateur, as well they should. They mostly remember the brilliant films he made between his debut feature Breathless in 1960 and Le Gai Savoir in 1969 more than the many anti-bourgeois docs and films he made in the decades to follow, although many critics still take Godard seriously to this day. This past May, his film Film Socialism ignited mixed response in Cannes (here's the respectful NYT and a pan from indieWIRE).

The LAT's Patrick Goldstein called the Academy president Tom Sherak for a response:

"I support the Board of Governors," he said. "They decided to give an honorary Oscar to Godard for his contributions to film during the early years of the French New Wave era. The academy has traditionally separated the art form from the honoree's personal life." I asked Sherak if he could be more specific. "We've given awards in the past to people like Roman Polanski and Elia Kazan whose personal lives were often far from perfect. They did objectionable things and we've been criticized for giving them awards. But that's not what's at issue here. We've always felt the art form outweighs the personal transgressions."

The New Yorker critic Richard Brody knows Godard better than anyone--he wrote about his anti-Semitism in his book Everything Is Cinema: The Working Life of Jean-Luc Godard, and yet he still came to his defense this week in his blog, The Front Row:

These writers seem not to have read the book in its entirety. Had they done so, they would, I think, be unlikely to challenge the award. F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote that “the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.” Godard is also the filmmaker who, more than any other beside Claude Lanzmann, has approached the Holocaust with the greatest moral seriousness; in his films, he has treated it as the central political and even aesthetic crisis of the time and has argued, in films and in interviews, that the failure of the cinema to document the Holocaust in the hope of preventing it can even be described as the medium’s—and its artists’— definitive and irreparable failure. In such films as “Hélas pour moi” and “Eloge de l’amour,” Godard creates a cinema that is deeply infused with the spirit of Jewish thought, identity, tradition, and history. They are not unalloyed celebrations of Jews; they are profound artistic meditations on the intellectual and emotional connections between the complex heritage and the people who bear it.

UPDATE: THR's Tim Appelo grabbed some more reaction.

Breathless trailer:

Film Socialism trailer:


This article is related to: Awards, Directors, Genres, Oscars, Classics, Foreign


E-Mail Updates