Sunday, May 06, 2018


~or, the (usual) clumsiness of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences~
The timing of Thursday's announcement by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences that it has elected to expel Bill Cosby and Roman Polanski from its ranks - due to sexual behavior (actually, misbehavior) that "violates recognized standards of decency" - seems curious at best.

And perhaps a little suspect.

The Cosby expulsion comes as no surprise, given that the Academy's decision came exactly one week after he was found guilty on all three counts of aggravated sexual assault. But lumping in Polanski at the same time makes the decision seem lopsided, for lack of a better description.

Why Polanski? And why now? As Cara Buckley pointed out in The New York Times, the inclusion of Polanski shocked Hollywood, where he has "enjoyed a measure of support." It's been more than 40 years since Polanski was arrested and convicted for sexual assault involving 13-year-old Samantha Geimer. Since then, the Academy has honored Polanski, most recently in 2003 with an Oscar for Best Director for "The Pianist."

Geimer, in an interview in Vanity Fair, called the Academy's expulsion of Polanski "an ugly and cruel action which serves only appearance. It does nothing to change the sexist culture in Hollywood today and simply proves that they will eat their own to survive. I say to Roman, good riddance to bad rubbish. The Academy has no true honor. It's all just P.R."

So, again, why Polanski? And why now?

My theory is that the Academy, hoping to hitch a ride on the coattails of the Cosby case, originally intended to expel only Cosby - that is, until the toxic damage control by his people swung into action, calling the verdict racist and an example of "mob justice." Not wanting to face the same accusations, the Academy, acting in self-interest, hastily added Polanski to the mix. A two-fer that gets the Academy off the hook, see? But that doesn't make its decision look any less arbitrary and hypocritical.

I'm not saying that Roman Polanski doesn't deserve to be expelled. What I'm saying is that he's included now only because it's convenient for the Academy to target him at this particular time. And if the sanctimonious Academy leadership really wants to clean house, why stop at Cosby and Polanski? Why not toss in Kevin Spacey, Woody Allen and Casey Affleck?

Apparently, Polanski was blindsided by this. The director was informed that the Academy was planning to take up the issue of his membership, and his attorney, Harland Braun, was preparing a presentation for the Academy board that would have included a statement from Samantha Geimer.

He believes the Academy failed to follow a fair process in the case. "We want due process," Braun told Vanity Fair. "That's not asking too much of the Academy, is it?" He will now appeal the Academy's decision.

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~Roman Polanski~


Mike Schlesinger said...

Woody's not an Academy member, so expelling him would be a bit of a challenge. ;-)

joe baltake said...

Smart man! Very wise.

Bill from Philly said...

It's clear that the Academy is just trying to cover its ass.

Vanessa said...

Why expel anyone??? I mean, these predators have been publicly humiliated already and some, like Cosby, have been found guilty in a courtroom and others will undoubtedly be charged. They're being punished. Hollywood is the last place that should be self-righteous about anything. Yes, hypocritical.

kiki said...

I say, Fuck the Academy and those "award shows" that are shabby red carpet "events" publicizing jewlery and clothes few people could afford or would seen dead in - in the event they could afford them. The Academy Awards are not about the artistic value of film -- Around the World in 80 Days? Shakespeare in Love? Get rid of the glamourous gowns, the "protest" gowns, the envelopes . . . the good movies will survive without them. No opinion on Cosby because I don't even see how you can put him in the same sentence with Polanski. your adoring fan, kiki

Sharon Bosart said...

Bravo to kiki! Well put. Polanski is an artist. Cosby? A comic with pretensions. No more than that. And, yes, the Academy's yearly giveaway show is now just a sidebar to the awful red-carpet crap.

Marvin said...

Joe, you hit the nail on the head. Precisely,exactly. And Polanski did indeed win some kind of Best Director award AFTER the "event" in question. So, first they honor him, and then they expel him. I also read that Polanski is going to sue over this. I hope so. Marvin,.