Poll: Was a male-male kiss censored at the Oscars?
Controversy rages over a scene not shown on the Oscars telecast: Javier Bardem and Josh Brolin kissing and dancing while en route to the podium to bestow the award for adapted screenplay. As the duo appeared on stage, dressed in matching white tuxedos and ties, TV cameras briskly cut away to a shot of Bardem's wife, Penelope Cruz, beaming in the audience.
The Oscars have been accused of homophobia in the past, of course -– like when "Brokeback Mountain" lost best picture to "Crash." Gay roles win acting honors when they're played by obviously straight actors (translation: they don't mean what they're doing, though to be sure, that's the same vein Brolin and Bardem were mining), and usually when they meet a tragic end. Tom Hanks died of of complications from AIDS in "Philadelphia"; Sean Penn was assassinated in "Milk." This year, in "The Kids Are All Right," Annette Bening portrayed a healthy, normal lesbian who doesn't die -– and she lost.
But Oscarcast producer Bruce Cohen insists that Brolin and Bardem's intimate interaction wasn't censored. He told AfterElton: "It [the dance and the kiss] was unscripted, and the plan in the truck was always to cut to Penelope in the audience applauding Josh's and Javier's introduction, so that is what happened, just as they were starting to dance. Josh and Javier’s moment (I saw them start to dance, but, to be honest, I have no idea if they kissed — that’s the first I've heard of that) would have made a great TV moment, but since no one knew it was coming, we cut to the gorgeous Ms. Cruz as planned. By the time we cut back from her close-up, Josh and Javier were walking to the podium."
If ABC truly censored the moment, noted gay activist Andy Humm (Gay City News, "Gay USA") thinks everyone should be outraged. He tells Awards Tracker: "By censoring a male-male kiss, ABC is telling the world that same-sex affection is one of the most disgusting, vile things in the world -- worse than all the violence and infidelity they show every day of the week to make money. We've been trying to tell gay kids this past year that it gets better, but ABC is proving that it gets worse at network TV. The whole community and our allies have to unite in telling ABC to stop treating our love as something offensive."
Humm's "Gay USA" costar Ann Northrop adds, "They look good from the side kissing. What ABC should have censored is the head-on view of the two of them looking hideous in those inappropriate white dinner jackets."
-- Tom O'Neil
Photo: Josh Brolin, left, and Javier Bardem. Credit: Mark Terrill / Associated Press