The low down on going down in award-worthy movies this year


Have you heard? The key to getting award nominations this year has been discovered. Nope, it’s not the acting or artistry or authentic emotions. Nope, it’s not the writing or directing or telling of a good story. Nope, folks, it’s something much more cunning – if you know what I mean. That’s right, the key to raking in awards this season is female oral sex, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The evidence is, apparently, the multiple Golden Globe, Broadcast Film Critics Association and Screen Actors Guild nominations for Black Swan, The Kids Are All Right and Blue Valentine. All three films feature sex scenes where actors go down on an actresses’ lady business. So there you have it thespians, learn from the lesbians to lap up the awards.

Wow, let’s see: 1) LOL and 2) But, no. This is of course simplistic and reductionist reasoning. The prevailing “Three Makes a Trend” rule of journalism is fun to employ, but often just grasping at straws or fishing for headlines. By that grouping logic last year the key to a best picture Oscar nomination was U.S. soldiers (Avatar, The Hurt Locker and Inglourious Basterds) or possibly aliens (Avatar, District 9) or the word “up” (Up, Up in the Air).

The notion that these admittedly stimulating scenes are the key to these three films’ success is silly at best. But it also highlights how strange it still is to see scenes of singular (or multiple, depending on your skill level) female pleasure on the big screen – whether it be gay or straight sex scenes.

(WARNING: Some mildly NSFW images and mild spoilers for Black Swan, The Kids Are All Right and Blue Valentine follow.)

Interestingly, it was actually the straight scene of, to paraphrase an old Twizzlers slogan, mouths making happy that raised the most fuss. The much-reported oral sexytime moment between Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams in Blue Valentine at first earned the movie a dreaded NC-17 rating, but later won an appeal to get an R-rating.

The lesbian sex scenes in Black Swan and The Kids Are All Right simply earned an R-rating. They both play out very differently in the respective films. Black Swan’s scene was fraught with paranoia as well as passion, while The Kids Are All Right moment was a more humorous, we’ve-all-been-there discussion about oxygen levels. As our own Trish Bendix noted earlier, the acceptance of those scenes without raising an MPAA ruckus may well be a sign of progress – smoking hot progress.

So what now are we to make of all this lip service about lip service? While I whole-heartedly encourage movie makers dive in and embrace this so-called trend, it’s the artistry of all three films that will earn them their accolades. Tipping the velvet certainly shouldn’t tip the Oscar race. But then, I’ve found it never hurts to be limber up those tongues and be a cunning linguist in all matters. Ahem.

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