The “Carol” Oscars Snub: The Problem Isn’t Lesbians, It’s Misandry

Leading into today’s Oscars announcementsCarol had been nominated for Best Film by basically every association of film critics on the entire planet earth. In fact, it has a standalone Wikipedia page dedicated solely to the 200 accolades it has received so far. This morning, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences nominated Carol for awards in many categories — Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress, among them — but skipped right over it when it came to Best Picture. It’s an even more bizarre snub when you consider that the Best Picture category can now include ten films, but only eight were chosen. The internet has been all a dither trying to figure out what the heck happened, with many entertainment magazines, including Vanity Fair, deciding that ultimately Carol was just too gay.

Wait, though: Wasn’t The Kids Are All Right gay when it was nominated for Best Picture in 2010? Or Milk in 2008? Or Brokeback Mountain in 2005? Yes, the Academy has proven repeatedly that it has no problem with gay films. What the Academy — with its 76% male voter population* — has is a problem with films that do not center on male experience. Even The Kids Are All Right, while technically a film about lesbians, focused its story on a pair of moms rebuilding their family around a man to keep it together, with one of them even having sex with him. And while Carol is a lesbian love story and a queer coming of age story most of all, the second layer of its narrative is a complete dismissal of bumbling, fumbling, entitled men who cannot wrap their minds around women who have no need for them whatsoever.

(*It should come as no surprise that 94% of Oscar voters are also white, which led once again this year to a list of all-white acting nominees.)


Men: 16. Women: 3. Women who don’t give a fuck about men: 0.

Consider this year’s batch of Best Picture nominees. The overwhelming majority of them star one male A-lister or an ensemble of male A-listers (with the occasional token female). Even Mad Max: Fury Road — which is hands down the most feminist, patriarchy-walloping action film ever made — relies heavily on the character of Max in the promotion of the movie. And despite the fact that Furiosa is the real hero of the film, Max is always there, in the background, on the roof, under the car, in the dirt, grunting and smashing and whacking and yelling and reminding everyone that a man is present, that a man is necessary. (And, in fact, he’s right: Mad Max would never have reached pre-production without a big strong man as the title character.)

Carol‘s director, Todd Haynes, who was also snubbed by the Academy for the first time this awards season, refused to center on masculine experience (he cut a scene where Therese gave Richard a hand job, for example, deciding to eschew all male pleasure on-screen). He also made the bold decision to allow Carol‘s audience to laugh at men. Not with men. No, Haynes invited viewers to see the men in his movie — these husbands and boyfriends and duplicitous know-it-all notions sellers — through the eyes of queer women and to laugh openly at their silliness, unearned confidence, and expendability. In 1952!

Carol’s husband, Harge, tries everything he can to control her. He isolates her from her friends, tries to emotionally and physically intimidate her, blackmails her with custody of their daughter, and even hires a private investigator to follow her and Therese and collect incriminating evidence about their affair. When he tries to coerce Carol into spending Christmas with him, he says he doesn’t want her to be alone, but Carol points out that she has a best friend/former lover, Abby, with whom she can enjoy her holidays. She truly does not need him. Carol knocks him to the ground when he’s groping her in a drunken stupor, Abby slams the door in his face when he shows up in the middle of the night to bully her, and the most triumphant moment of the film comes when Carol walks out on him (and a roomful of male lawyers) after declaring that she will not live against her grain. He is the embodiment of toxic masculinity and she shrugs him off like her fur coat.


Oh, do tell us more about what Proust really meant.

Similarly, Therese’s boyfriend, Richard, needles and begs for her attention, tries repeatedly to get her to agree to travel to Europe with him, and yells out an unrequited “I love you!” as Therese shuts the door and drives away in Carol’s car. He’s furious when he finally realizes Therese doesn’t return his affections, not because he thinks there’s anything particularly special about her (he can’t even tell her why he loves her), but because he believes he has earned her as his wife. He bought boat tickets! He got a better job! She owes herself to him!

Haynes’ vision of the men in Carol and Therese’s world is displayed most clearly in a second act scene when they share coffee with an intrusive notions salesman named Tommy Tucker. He invites himself to sit with Therese over breakfast, and Carol barely acknowledges his presence, pulling up a chair without introducing herself and never once turning her body in his direction. Oh, she’s happy to give him a scornful side-eye when he suggests they buy a sewing kit, and giddy to mock him when he butts in to pontificate about a better route to Chicago than the one they’re planning, and perfectly content to share affectionate glances with Tess about how absurd he is. Like every other man in Carol, he is superfluous, a minor pot hole in a road that leads Carol and Therese only to each other.

I’ve seen Carol multiple times, and without fail, men in the theater spend a good portion of the film laughing uneasily; and several times, I’ve watched men stand up and leave in the middle of the show. I’ve seen male critics from the biggest entertainment publications on the internet complain that Carol isn’t a good movie because in real life a woman would never leave Kyle Chandler.

On the first day of their road trip, Carol asks Therese if she misses Richard and she cheerfully replies, “No, I haven’t thought about him all day!”

The joke’s on Richard, and men everywhere who feel entitled to a world that revolves around their whims. It’s a good line, one of my all-time favorite lines of dialogue ever committed to film. Unfortunately, encouraging women to forget men isn’t a great strategy when you’re trying to convince an organization historically dominated by masculinity to acknowledge your genius.

If Carol really wanted an Oscar for Best Picture, Haynes should have had Harge and Carol reunite as he sewed a severed arm back onto her body and chased away the bear that mauled her, waving his torch and singing the song of heroic, indispensable men and dudes and fellas and lads and boys and brotherhoods, all along the way.

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Heather Hogan

Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior editor who lives in New York City with her wife, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Twitter and Instagram.

Heather has written 1718 articles for us.


  1. This article sums up a lot of feelings I’m currently having but unable to express in a more articulate manner than just “urghhhh patriarchy”.

    I really hope Carol wins at least one of the awards it’s been nominated for.

  2. Yep. I absolutely would not be surprised if a large portion of Academy voters (guess which ones) didn’t even finish their Carol screeners.

    Every description of The Revenant sounds like an olden day Saw set in the woods.

  3. There has been so much positive change in our society in terms of women’s rights and gay rights in just the past decade alone but you sure wouldn’t know it if you looked at awards shows or most big movies.

    Oh and that’s definitely why Kids Are Alright did so well with the academy and male critics. It gave them a guy to root for and fulfilled their fantasy of fucking a lesbian at the same time. I’m so grateful Haynes kept all hetero sex out of Carol.

  4. My partner went to see Carol last night for the umpteenth time – this time though, the guy behind the concession counter asked her what movie she was seeing. When she told him, he volunteered that he agreed it was a good film, but that he had a problem with its “amorality.”
    We’ve thought of many witty comebacks since, but at the time, she just quietly went about her business and watched her movie.
    And I think that’s probably the boldest statement there is: it doesn’t matter what you think. I’m gonna make this movie and I’m gonna see this movie. You don’t get a say.

    • A morality clause! Well, it is certainly legal for him to say it, doesn’t mean it’s right.
      I’m glad your partner didn’t go against her grain.

      • I’m totally affronted by the Carol snub, but isn’t it possible that the amorality he speaks of is the fact that Carol is still (technically) married, and not homosexuality? I get that even that is probably hypocritical, considering all the other amoral things that happen in film. But Carol is one of the few that does encourage the audience to root for an affair (technically). Plus Carol’s relationship with Abby was an affair, with no “technicality” to soften it.
        Having said all that, I love the movie and have watched it more than once and have pre-ordered my blu-ray. I’m not knocking it, but just saying that for many folks it’s hard to root for what they view as adultery.

      • Well, damn. That’s supposed to be the gif of Janis going “Hey! It’s only okay when I say it!” but apparently, like Damian, I am too gay to function.

    • I’ve seen this adorable gif before, but I don’t know what it’s from! Who is this lovely gay character and where can I watch her?

  5. I love how diversity works in Hollywood, particularly when you see that all the latest movies in the last years have been some kind of Robinson Crusoe revamp.

    So, last year was #OscarsSoWhite, the same happened today but now we can add #OscarsSoMale.

  6. I’ve always wanted to write an all-female musical that shows want a female-centric world looks like.

    This tugs at my heart.


    I gave film a fair chance. I saw more films this fall/winter than I generally do in a year. I saw some (including Carol) more than once. But this feels like a personal blow. Do I have anything to do with the movie? No. But I am a woman, so I do have a connection.

    • Ok, so the more I think of your play idea the more and more brilliant it sounds. It could be funny, and heartwarming, and just the perfect satire. If you ever write it let me know and I’ll buy the first ticket!

  7. Thank You!!
    I am still boiling with anger.
    My first thought, after the initial shock had worn off was, “Someone must have taken Abby’s ‘I can’t help you with that.'” a bit personally.
    That door in the face must have been a slap to the face for quite some bruised male egos at the Academy.

    I had dreamt of “Carol” winning Best Picture, I had dreamt that people would then go to the movies to watch the film which had won those awards, and I had dreamt that some of those people, who would not have gone to see it otherwise, would then have thought to themselves:”Yes. This is beautiful. Who cares that it is two women? I kind of get it now.”
    And in one of the following years, they would have done “The Well of Loneliness” or a remake of “The Children’s Hour” or anything, really.

    I also wished so hard for Todd Haynes to get that award for Best Director, because he did construct this movie so carefully and lovingly and he did so right by us.
    He deserves all the awards. And not just because he is good at bossing people around in cold weather or in a desert.

    But I will abandon these dreams, not gladly, but willingly, if it means, that I get one movie that does not cater to anything or anyone, that simply tells its story about two women falling in love, where no clichés and no desasters strike.
    One movie I can hold close to my heart and still dream about people seeing and saying,”It’s alright. Being gay isn’t just about sweating together in the darkness. It’s about this, and it’s alright.”

    While I dream those dreams,though, I still hope that the omission of “Carol” (and “The Danish Girl” and Idris Elba and..) serves as a platform for a wide discussion of the Academy Awards and sexism and homophobia and racism in the Film industry.

    None of this would be so dear to my heart, btw., if the stories we are told wouldn’t influence the societies we are living in so much.

    • Yes exactly! I had dreamt that my parents would hear about and be interested in the film without me having to point it out.

      • I am totally up for calling your parents and telling them to see the movie!
        Maybe it’s time for you to develop a very fast and intense love for movie soundtracks or start raving about the astethics of the Fifties?

  8. “No, I haven’t thought about him all day!” is my favorite single moment of any movie I’ve seen maybe ever.

    • Omg and the scene with Tommy Tucker in the restaurant. I want to just watch and rewatch that scene over and over again. Or somehow have that scene, even without volume, just their body language, projected on my forehead every time some dudebro breaks in to my space to mainsplain something. Oh. My. Gosh. I loved it.

      I loved this whole movie. Thanks for this article, Heather. As always…. your commentary is on point.

  9. Male critics(and Academy voters apparently) have reacted to Carol exactly the way I expected them to. Their homophobia is that predictable. No woman would ever leave Kyle Chandler? Who wrote that review? Do they know Kyle Chandler personally or something? I’m sure he has a few ex-girlfriends in his past who would beg to differ. Besides Carol didn’t leave Kyle Chandler, she left Harge. There isn’t a single redeemable thing about Harge in this movie. Even Richard was more sympathetic and that isn’t saying much. I think that is the real issue. The men in the audience didn’t have anyone they could root for and were the butt of the joke in many scenes. I know I laughed my ass off repeatedly at Therese’ lack of interest in Richard. “I love you”. “Bye”. I cackle at that scene every time. And their were no hetero sex scenes. Unlike, The Kids Are Alright were seemingly half of the movie was about one of the women’s affair with a man. The audience was treated to multiple scenes of the two of them boning while Julianne Moore gushed over his penis. And no scenes between the two women. I got into multiple arguments with straight people back then who didn’t understand why Julianne’s character didn’t just run off with Mark at the end of the movie and would say things to me like “Well, why wouldn’t a lesbian sleep with Mark Ruffalo? He’s hot.” They just didn’t get it. I wished that I had the super-power to reach through the computer scene to punch that particular woman in the face at that moment. I irrationally hated Mark Ruffalo for a long time after that but I’m over it now.

    And 94% white voters. Something tells me the numbers are similar when it comes to how many are straight. That is just plain ridiculous and I know they know that. Yet they aren’t interested in making any changes. Seems like every time they get called out on their lack of diversity they award one black actor or a movie based on slavery or the civil rights movement just so they can go “See, we aren’t racist. You’re being silly.”

    • This entire situation is screwed up but that whole “why would anyone leave Kyle Chandler????” thing feels extra shitty. Like I’m sure the critic was joking but Im just so tired of the way women’s sexuality isn’t taken seriously.

    • The Kyle Chandler comment was presented out of context. It seems that the reviewer is a gay man and was just making a joke about how attractive he is. So…not really homophobic, just unfunny. Still focused on the male experience though.

    • Precisely! Tokenism is a continuing problem in our society– the old white patriarchal institutions view women and minorities as boxes to check off and then forget about. This phenomenon is true in hiring practices and professional recognition across just about every field. It needs to be called out!

  10. I was shocked by two things when Academy Awads were announced:

    1. Mad Max got a Best Picture nomination.

    2. Carol didn’t.

    Which makes little to no sense to me because I think Mad Max got on the Best Picture list because of all of the movie outlets saying how wonderful it is. But the same outlets are saying Carol is just as wonderful and of the two Carol skews more towards what the Oscars would normally nominate.

    But, yeah, the Guilds are gonna give Carol all of the love it deserves.

    • I went to an Arthouse cinema in a very hipster part of town to watch Mad Max with a movie loving friend, and we just kept looking at each other all “WTF?” throughout the movie.
      Just before the credits rolled, there is a quote by “The Waterman” or something like that, meaning to lend the concept of that world some depth, and I kid you not, the entire movie theater snickered, because everyone thought it was so ridiculous.

      When I went to watch Carol in a 500 people movie theater filled with 80% of gay men, there was stunned silence when the credits started rolling..and then applause.
      Even though no one from the cast or crew or news was there,no one would know.
      But everyone was just so overwhlemed, they put their hands together, in an effort to express what they felt.

      Now, while I obviously did not get Mad Max, nor the hype around it, and I am super biased because I want to marry Carol, I sincerely do not think that those reactions on polar opposites of the spectrum would warrant the exact opposite in nominations for Best Picture.
      I mean, what is Mad Max doing in the nominations category for Best Picture?
      Do two pages of dialogue and a plethora of trumped up cars and stunts now for a Best Picture nomination make?

      • Oh, Amidola! Mad Max was so amazing!

        I mean I get that people either love it or hate it. But:

        The artistry involved in telling that story so completely with almost no dialogue! The economy of language, the visual worldbuilding, the refusal to whack us in the face with exposition like so many American films and tv shows love to do…

        So many amazing things. The references to rape within slavery without showing (and glorifying) actual rape.

        The stunts!

        Everything about Charlize Theron’s performance, including the fact that she chose to shave her head because she was a new mom in the desert and didn’t want to deal with that shit.

        The fact that Furiosa is the real center of the story — a woman and an amputee, where neither of those things are ever referenced or called out, they’re just part of her.

        I could go on for so long! But I won’t because this is really about Carol. It didn’t have to be an either or. There was room for both of them in the Best Picture nomination. Sadly, the Academy sucks.

        But Mad Max really didn’t :-D

        • Well, I’ll take your word for it.
          I could just not get into it at.all.
          There were too many logical loopholes in the world building for me and when I started to get even remotely into it, a guy with a flame throwing guitar showed up.
          But I do appreciate the grrrlpower aspect of it.
          And you’re right, the nominations would have been big enough for both movies and The Danish Girl on top.Or Beasts of No Nation, for that matter.
          I guess I’ll be renting a copy of “The Duke of Burgundy” instead of watching the Oscars this year.

          • Hehe the flamethrowing guitar dude is one of the amazing parts! It’s pure camp on a lot of levels. Def not highbrow. :-)

        • What baffles me about Mad Max in particular is that it got a Best Picture and Best Director nomination but no nominations in any of the other major acting categories. I don’t think Charlize got any acting nominations for that film and she really should have.

          • LOL yeah at the Globes everyone from the Revenent kept talking about the horrible miserable shoot in the wilderness like it earned them their awards. If that’s the case Charlize definitely deserved one — she and Tom Hardy have often talked about how gruelling the Mad Max shoot was, how specific and difficult the director was, and how gratified they were when they finally saw the film and realized exactly what they had done.

        • Yes, I don’t mind Mad Max’s nomination either. If a film is good, it ought to be okay that it’s action, or comedy, or whatever genre. Having not seen all of the nominees, I will say that the movie that I don’t get is Spotlight.
          Despite the importance of the story, I felt it was really flat and passionless and had very little dramatic appeal. And Rachel McAdams with an Oscar nom? Nothing against her, but she had so little to do.
          Anyway, I’m trying to look at it this way: one, I’d rather have Carol be a movie that we (queer women) love, that is snubbed by the Academy than be a movie that most of us hated (ala The Kids Are Alright) and the Academy loved; two, I’m hoping the best picture snub means that Cate or Rooney or both will win. I predict Rooney since Charlotte Rampling maybe a sentimental favorite; and three) perhaps the controversy about the film not being nominated will lead viewers to seek it out either in theater or home video.

      • Oh man I’ve been wondering where the other “Mad Max” haters are, glad to find some. :) I mean I get that it was technically impressive but I also thought it was both ugly as hell and corny as hell (and either can have value in a film, I think, but not together) and any interesting ideas were pushed into the corners in favor of a million car explosions. It felt to me like it was made for a) other filmmakers, b) explosion fans, and c) people who are impressed by “but what if: a woman” premises. And so, that’s fine, not everything has to be for everyone and especially not for me, but the overwhelming consensus about it seemed to be “Finally: a movie for everyone!” and I was just mystified by that.

        • Agree about Mad Max. I thought it was esthetically awful, and the scenario could fit on a post-it.
          As for Carol I was hoping it would get nominated and then win the Oscar. First because it’s amazingly good and also becaus that would mean that perhaps my mom would go see it. One can dream…

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  11. YES Heather. One of the greatest [realest] things in this film was the sometimes callous (but IDC) amused attitude the women had for the clueless men. Who continued to be clueless and not pick up on the very clear signals being sent. That is just such a very very real thing I have experienced that I loved seeing it centered.

  12. Ever since I read that longreads article “On Pandering,” I think a lot about who things are *for.* We make this mistake — because we are told — that the things that are culturally mainstream, like the Oscars, are for all of us, but they’re not.

    Rich white men choose the nominations and the winners. The Oscars are for rich white men. I don’t see how their taste in movies are relevant to my life, except to illustrate how great the gulf between our lives is.

    Which I guess is my way of saying I probably won’t watch the Oscars.

    • I stopped watching a few years ago for pretty much the same reasons. I feel like my expectations are so low for the Academy but somehow they still find ways to disappoint.

    • Also, white guys run a lot of the studios, which fund movies made by other white guys. It’s this whole big long disappointing process.

    • But what exactly is wrong with that EVEN if its true?

      Do feminist organisations cater to men? Nope, do mens organisations cater to women? Nope Does the black lives matter movement cater to Mexicans or whites? Nope

      All organisations cater to specific groups within society, sometimes by design, sometimes merely because of the groups that are either drawn to them, fund them or indirectly by the groups that just aren’t interested in them

      And where you have something that is for public consumption that too will be driven by the public distribution of people attending or voting

      So as an example it would be rather surprising not to say rather silly if GQ decided that a new womans handbag was the “fashion accessory of the year” or Elle decided that a new mans sport cup that gave better protection whilst allowing better air flow was the best new female sports wear to be released that year

      So even if the alleged “bias” of Hollywood (which lets face it IS disproportionately run, funded and owned by white male jews I guess) was a rational claim based on a foundation of fact its still not necessarily a “bad” thing or something that needs to be corrected as long as it is representing the majorative view of its patrons, the majorative view of its followers, the majorative view of the people who vote, the majorative view of the customers.

      Unless the views of the voters are, and can be categorically proven to be the opposite of the views of the majority of the movie going audiences its a non issue as much as some people would like to make it an issue

  13. Great article. Spot on. One typo to repair: “in real life a woman would ever leave Kyle Chandler.” I think it’s meant to say ‘never.’

  14. Ok but, uh, you can’t necessarily separate lesbianism from women choosing to prioritize and centre women in their lives at the exclusion of men because that is a huge part of what being a lesbian means to so many women and it has such a long history behind it that I’m not really buying the “it’s not lesbianism it’s misandry” argument

    • but in movies… YOU CAN! we’ve seen soooo many mainstream movies about queer women that center men. if you want to get a movie about lesbians made, find some way — against really quite dramatic odds! — to put a bunch of white men in it or center the white male experience.

    • I don’t really understand this mindset though…I thought political lesbianism went out of style decades ago. The whole “choosing to prioritize women over men” thing weirds me out a little because I don’t derive glee from excluding men. Like, I get that men have had more power historically, but the whole thing seems like some odd vendetta that I don’t care about.

      • It’s cool if it’s not your cup of tea but in a world where women are constantly pressured to arrange their lives around men some of us prefer to deliberately not do that, regardless of how “in style” it may or may not be.

        • Well judging by the votes it is a lot of people’s cup of tea. I choose not to interact with men romantically because I’m not interested in them, but many of my closest platonic relationships are with males. To write off an entire segment of the population based on prejudice seems hypocritical coming from queer people.

    • Ugh no. Biggest lesbian here. I don’t have a bisexual, queer bone in my body, but my closest friends include men. I see no reason, purpose, or rationale behind deliberately excluding a group of people. My hobbies and sense of humor tend to gel better with guys, on average, I have good female friends too, so I select who I surround myself based on the person, not the gender. Anything less than that to me is irrational and silly, unless you fear harm from society and then that isn’t a choice.

  15. Ugh, I am so fucking disappointed. I know they are 94% white dudes, but I still hoped their fragile egos could take it. Fucking patriarchy.

  16. brb i’m going to do a remake of the revenant, only with me trying to survive in the wilderness just to get revenge on the academy for having snubbed carol.

  17. Yes to everything you’ve said here. I’ve been trying to articulate exactly why it feels like this snub had more to do with Carol simply being “too gay” or “led by women.” Ultimately, I think it might just be a mixture of several things.

    Carol is very obviously a gay story, but so were The Kids are All Right and Brokeback Mountain, and that didn’t stop them from being best picture nominations. Carol is unique in that, as far as I can remember, it’s the first Oscar-contending LGBTQ film of any kind that allows its characters a story without lesbians having sex with men, handwringing, shame, death, or some other tragedy. It seems that a gay story that isn’t misery porn or an after school special on homophobia for straight folks to pat themselves on the back over is a radical idea in mainstream film.

    To top it all off, every single male character in the movie is a bumbling, entitled, fool (perhaps with the exception of Dannie, who comes off as nice but ultimately clueless) who we’re meant to laugh at. It probably shouldn’t surprise me that this Carol wouldn’t sit well with a largely male Academy, but the overwhelmingly positive critical reception had me hopeful. One can only speculate what would have happened if they included sex scenes with the male characters and/or one of the women died in the end.

    Of course what Academy voters think doesn’t in and of itself really matter, but unfortunately, money and Oscars matter in the long term for getting more movies like this made. It honestly feels like a miracle that a film like Carol even exists in the first place, and if nothing else, I and a ton of other lesbians are so grateful that it does. I believe it will forever be seen as a landmark in lesbian cinema.

  18. So, I have a question. Is there some kind of competition, that I don know about, between #OscarsSoWhite and #OscarsSoMale?

    Because it seems I need to check my privileges. In that case, I will really want to know what privileges I should checked, just to be sure: the privilege of being a woman, maybe the privilege of being a lesbian or that other big privilege of being a latina?

    I’m asking this because it seems that many people think that I should be happy just because Mad Max: Fury Road got a nomination for best picture. Although I do considered Mad Max a very good movie, Mad Max is just that, a movie, not a film (I think that one problem the academy had with Carol, besides that the members are a bunch of homophobic old farts, is that this film is too European for the academy standars). For me Mad Max’s nomination just means “here, girl, have a candy”.

    • Many people? Which people? I don’t see anyone in this thread asking you to check your privilege or telling you you should be happy with Mad Max…Mad Max is a really different type of cinematic experience than Carol, and it’s not queer! Do you mean people elsewhere? (Not asking facetiously)

      • Sorry, my bad, I was not talking about this thread. That’s not happening here, but it’s happening on Twitter and several other show business related sites.

        Yes, I do agree with what you said about Mad Max, so people (once again, not people here) telling me I should settle with that is highly offensive.

        Not everything in the world is a freaking competition

  19. It’s hugely disappointing that Carol was’t nominated, but arguing that the voters didn’t like movies with ladies is kind of weird in a year where 3/8 of the nominees have female protagonists. To be sure, this is a major problem, but I wonder if the ranked choice voting is what hurt the film’s chances: to be nominated, at least 5% of voters have to put it as their first choice. It’s possible that Carol was on a lot of ballots, just not at the top.

    • I didn’t read any of Heather’s discussion as an argument that the voters didn’t like movies with women. Instead, she was arguing that the voters, which are overwhelmingly male, do not like movies centering on women without positive and primary attention paid to men in the storyline.

      Also, I’m a nerd and looked up the Academy Awards’ voting process. The film has to receive at least 5% of the votes by the second (and de facto final) round of vote tabulation, but that doesn’t mean that the film has to be ranked first by 5% of the voters (it can be ranked second by quite a few of them). The system does pose a disadvantage for films with smaller followings, though, but that only further highlights that the problem isn’t so much the voting system as it is the pool of voters operating within it. Because the voters are so overwhelmingly white and male, it’s less likely that critically-acclaimed films like Carol will gain any traction with these types of nominations when they aren’t pandering to the audience voting on them.

    • The 3/8 movies (I am assuming you mean Brooklyn, Mad Max, and Room) have men in important and substantial roles in the movie still. Heck, there are more men on the poster for Brooklyn than women. Room is largely given through the eyes of the child, and Heather already mentioned that Max is always in the scene in Mad Max even if it is Furiosa’s story. Carol was the only movie in contention (I believe) that really omits men from the main perspective and treats them as obstacles to cross.

      Even last year, you saw this with Wild’s omission. Regardless of what you think about the movie (and it is certainly a better movie than American Sniper), but if Reese Witherspoon had been replaced with James Franco that movie would have been nominated (see: 127 Hours).

  20. Well said. Men aren’t interested in women who aren’t interested in them.

    At least we can take solace in the fact ‘Carol’ will go down in cinema history as fine film that will stand the test of time…the performances, the cinematography, the script, the direction…all superb.

    I might also suggest we support this film not only by going to theaters to watch it, but by purchasing the legit DVD or download. It’s a treasure.

      • Last I saw gay men are not exempt from being misogynist or chauvinist. Personally I have noted male-centric attitudes and lesbianphobia among many gay men I have known.

    • And I heard through the rumor mill here in Cincinnati, where “Carol” was filmed, that there was an entire other sex scene filmed between Carol & Therese that was not included in the final cut… we can only dream it might be on the dvd………!

  21. Hmm….not sure that I agree with your analysis of the men in this film, nor of the characterization of them as “entitled” (although wasn’t Harge somewhat entitled to believe that his wife would be faithful to him?)

    The men in the film version of “Carol” were, to this lesbian, far more sympathetic than in the book. Harge and Richard weren’t bad guys, but their worlds were crumbling around them. They loved their women and treated them decently. They suffered heartbreak, too. So many third parties (Harge, Richard, and Rindy) were hurt as a consequence of these lesbians not being able to live genuine lives. Thanks goodness that both of the women decided to pursue happiness going forward.

    • Harge and Carol were already getting a divorce so I don’t see how her getting on with Therese is any of his business.Though I’ve never had a divorce so I don’t really know how that etiquette works.

      According to Abby, Richard isolated Carol and made himself the center of her world and then punished her (took her child away from her & spied on her) when she wouldn’t submit. Thats just straight up abusive partner tactics. Not decent at all. Whether he loved her/loved the idea of her and their family/preferred to control her, Carol had to suffer because he wanted things his way and only his way. Her feelings on the matter were just obstacles to get by and if he beat them down enough, he’d get his way.

      Now Richard probably did really love Therese. The problem is that he did all of these things “for” her, that she never asked for. He then throws it back in her face as a way to say “I did these things,you kinda have to love me back now.” And he tries to wear her down when she resists, instead of just backing off a bit. He did all of these things now she has to pay up by loving him back. That is entitlement.

      I don’t think anyone would argue that either Richard or Harge are the spawn of evil but their actions were self-serving to the point that they negatively affected Carol and Therese’s lives. Carol wasn’t obligated to continue being married to Harge but he did everything he could to force it on her. (In what world is that treating her decently?) And Richard acted as if he had put in enough good guy tokens and now Therese was supposed to reward him with her love.

      Their heartbreak was based on the women in their lives not returning their affections/submitting to their wishes. Meanwhile Carol’s heartbreak was due to Harge actively forcing her into a situation she didn’t want to be in. Richard just kinda went away so he’s the lesser of the evils here. If I had to be sympathetic to one it’d be him but he can’t go around with that shitty “nice guy” attitude.

      What about any of that is okay?

  22. This article was spot on.

    Somehow I wasn’t so surprised at the snub because I was still angry from The Golden Globes, which skipped over any film with a strong female presence in any major category (except, you know, the categories they still MUST recognize women) in favor of The Revenant and The Martian.

    The Martian took the comedy (???) award away from, first off, an actual comedy and two films (Trainwreck and Spy) that were box office winners and starred women in the lead roles (heck, the title roles).

    The Revenant–or (spoilers, I guess) The White Dudes’ Bloodsport Old World Smackdown, as I like to call it–is the only movie this year in any Best Picture category that features no women in any significant role–unless you count ethereal, mythic American Indian wife to a white dude or American Indian rape/kidnap victim significant. It is a film that manages to stretch 20 minutes of plot over 2.5 hours using unrelenting brutality and ugliness as a smoke screen to actual story and character development. The best I can say is it’s well-made unrelenting brutality and ugliness.

    With that said, I’d be shocked if The Revenant isn’t a lock at the Oscars. It strikes me as holding up a lot of the “traditional” values that our society (read: white, male dominated society) seem to keep circling back to: uber masculine men with women and minorities in the background waiting to be “saved”, in one way or another, by the all-knowing, aforementioned uber masculine.

    I think I’ll skip the Oscars this year. Except for the dresses. Have to at least see what Cate Blanchett and Jennifer Lawrence are wearing. =)

  23. As usual, Heather, you hit the nail on the head and gave language to something I was having trouble describing on another film. I recently watched, and was blown away by, Bessie, an HBO film in which Queen Latifah portrays early 1900s blues singer Bessie Smith. I was not surprised to see that many of the actors and writers were nominated for multiple awards, including Queen Latifah as Bessie and Mo’Nique as Ma Rainey. Both women gave powerful performances of queer black women, who brought men into their beds purely for their own pleasure, had good business sense, and were unapologetically themselves. The film not only portrayed few white people, but when it did, it used them to showcase how racism manifested in that era.

    SO… after watching the whitewashed Golden Globes make its way toward announcing the winner for best performance by an actress in a limited series or a motion picture, I was completely unsurprised but nonetheless totally disappointed that Queen Latifah did not win. In fact, she has not won any awards for this performance despite numerous nominations. No, I did not see Lady Gaga in American Horror Story, but I’m guessing it’s not a stretch to say that in a white male dominated industry, Queen Latifah was likely passed by for this win for reasons other than another’s better performance.

    Would love to hear thoughts on this.

    • Fully and wholly agree that’s exactly why she was passed over. She was a revelation in Bessie.

  24. I just finished writing an article about this subject that I’m going to publish tomorrow. Though I agree that male voters feeling left out is very likely a huge issue, I wouldn’t necessarily dismiss the idea that it has something to do with it being a gay film just because other gay films were nominated in the past. To me, Carol is a different kind of gay film, as it’s telling the story quite differently. I guess that most people, when they heard about the plot, thought it would be a lot like Brokeback Mountain, only that it isn’t. Unlike Brokeback, Carol is not a tragic story, the protagonists aren’t suffering because they are gay, they don’t fight their feelings, but they embrace them. There’s even the chance of a happy ending, which is quite unusual. People who expected and waited for drama and tragedy might have missed that and the subtle beauty of the movie.

    • This probably wasn’t your intention, but your comment gave me an image of straight people going to see the movie gleefully anticipating tragic lesbians to fuel their love for LGBT tears and blood, then coming out of the theater disappointed and frustrated because no one died.

      • You’re right, that wasn’t my intention, but thanks for pointing that out to me. I don’t think that they were “gleefully anticipating” it, but that they got to see a different movie than they expected. The thing with expectations is that some people like to be surprised, some just don’t and if something isn’t like they expected it, they dismiss it.

  25. Said everything I have been thinking and trying to put into words since finding out about the noms, wonderful article- thank you!!!

  26. Honestly, as a male, I would likely have never watched Carol. But because I’m from Cincinnati, and because I’d seen much of the movie filmed downtown where I work (Cate Blanchett brushed past me with a smile!), I was very enthusiastic about it.

    The film is great and is fairly consistent with the novel, “The Price of Salt.” It’s definitely worthy of a Best Picture nod.

    • That’s just it, why wouldn’t a man watch a movie about women unless a beautiful woman involved in the movie beamed at him? Because he doesn’t have to; he has plenty of movies to choose from that are made specifically with him in mind.

      • Why would a woman want to watch a movie about men laughing about how much they don’t need women? Do women like seeing themselves as the disrespected butt of jokes?

  27. this is the BEST comeback to carol being snubbed that I have seen all day. definitely just fueling my rage though tbh

  28. I certainly wouldn’t rule out misandry as the culprit here, but overall I was very disappointed with Carol. I went in with incredibly high expectations after reading rave reviews (including from many male critics). I ended up thinking the movie was beautiful, well acted, well scored, but I never bought the central romance as anything more than a fling. I saw Carol as just buying something new and pretty (Therese), while Therese was using an infatuation to explore a previously unexplored side of herself. I thought they might dig in to this more after Therese returned Carol’s declaration of love with silence, but the movie insisted on having Therese run after a relationship that, in real life, I don’t think would have lasted more than a few months. What exactly had they built a relationship on? It felt like the movie wanted to push for an archetypical (and undeserved) path for its protagonists. In contrast, Carol’s connection with Abby felt much more authentic, and I believed that they saw something in each other that was not just skin deep, even if it did not work out between them. I saw this in their conversations and the way they took care of each other. I would love to see more diverse points of view in Hollywood movies, and I am glad that Carol was made, but in the end I am not sure that it really deserves this seemingly righteous anger over its BP snub.

    • that’s a very fair interpretation of the movie. I chose to read it differently the first time I saw it because I was blown away by the acting, design, cinematography, and fell in love with everything in it so I could only see love.
      But I don’t think Carol is just buying something new and pretty all throughout the film. I think she does at first, but then her world (the daughter) is ripped out from under her and she hangs on to the women in her life for support, which includes Therese at that point, and that puts them a bit more on equal footing…

      but even then all these points you make don’t make it a not-as-good-as-we-claim movie, I think it’s quite the opposite: we don’t say it’s the most beautiful love story, we say “it’s so well made and so authentic, outpouring emotions that we felt things that movies haven’t allowed us to feel in a very long time”. and that totally deserves a best picture nomination.

    • I love that so much of the film is told through looks, and silence and gestures, but I do wish that there might have been a bit more dialog between Carol and Therese, which might have addressed some of your issues. I don’t agree though that Therese was just something new and that Carol would tire of her.
      Neither woman is perfect, and part of Carol’s attraction to Therese might be Therese’s devotion/adoration of her, but Carol leaving her took care of that. By the time they talk at the end, we know Carol does feel more for her to go through all she is; and we know that Therese must feel more for her to consider taking her back. They both also grew while they were apart and had plenty of opportunity to examine their feelings.
      Carol and Abby did have a wonderful connection, but that’s also one of the very unique things about being gay. You can be attracted to someone romantically and when that feeling changes or passes, you can still have interest in them as a friend because it’s not all sexual/physical. So they did have a beautiful friendship, but you can’t just make it love because it makes sense.
      I think Carol and Therese could have been very good for each other.

  29. I saw a Q&A with Todd and the producers, actors – god it was so bizarre and refreshing to hear a man who actually gets it. Get what we go through as women and how ridiculous our lives can be sometimes in a society – if you have any standards or morals, what we have to put up with and still try to stay dignified.

    If I speak out I’m a ranty feminist bitch, if I keep quiet I’m a scared demure mouse, (which anybody with any real convictions would see as weak and in a way quite sad) but I personally know a large majority of that are sexually attracted to them like a weakened gazelle. When actually it’s often men that made someone become that way.

    Think of how many times you’ve had to bite your tongue and take a hit so a man’s ego can stay on course? There are some men (and I use the term as an a typical gender label apologies) that can honestly see it from our point of view like Todd (my god are they RARE). I worked as an electrician for 5 years, it was a fun job but a strange landscape to drive through, I had some men who got hot and horny that they were working with a lesbian, some men who HATED me with an absolute passion and I could TELL right off the bat it was for no other reason than that I put their masculinity at risk – because I was a WOMAN and should be doing soft, gentle womanly things, i.e. if a woman could do their job it put their ego at risk!! And the men that hated the idea I could steal their woman and give them better in bed than them – can you imagine? I had colleagues actually say that to me! I had to contend with men getting turned on and telling me and showing me so when my clothes would get wet working outside – You know what? I honestly feel like I spend my whole life pretending to be one step behind, one step thicker, less intelligent than men because they get so angry and upset when I know how to do something more than them or I know a fact – I find myself holding back because their ego’s are so easily bruised and it’s embarrassing and awkward – I want to fight – I want to be myself, be honest, be brave and tell them – actually FUCK YOU I know this is right – but I’ve been brought up as a woman so all I know is how to stay back a bit and let them think they are the leader and in control. It’s ridiculous! I then worked in advertising and I was the leader of a team of 25 designers by my last job – my god the bruised ego’s of men was almost cringing to see on a daily basis. Only after proving myself as a better leader and really knowing my shit did I finally get some relaxed workers and even respect and friends.

    It’s true for a lesbian a man is an after thought, we love our brothers and fathers and friends but THEY are the ones we tap on the head patronisingly and say, yes yes dear, you are so clever and special, the world loves you – whilst getting on with rolling our eyes and back to women and what we see as true passion and fight. In the Q&A somebody asked Cate Blantchet – what do you think this film does to help women as you played two ‘strong women’ – you should have seen the FIRE in her eyes!! haha – Why are we STRONG she says? We are just women! Would you say the same about a man? If he showed his weaknesses would you call him feminine? Todd (a MAN) then says, these two actors show many different conflicts and personal issues, and perhaps we see women have more of these to show in a film and that they go through in life every day because of the automatic prejudice they get for being ‘women’ never mind in the 50’s! still today. We have a long long way to go. Yes we have the vote, yet we have the same rights (in western world) but the subtly, the underlying over wrought crippling sexism is still rife. Thank fuck for lesbians that’s all I can say. How we laugh…

  30. I just saw Carol for the first (and definitely not last) time yesterday, and I loved it in the way I love any lesbian movie which leaves me untraumatized and with my heart somewhat intact, but also a lot more. I had the distinct honor of sharing the theater with 5 other people, 2 of whom were old white dudes. Although the dudes sat a row and maybe 8 seats apart, I like to think they arrived together and then split because masculinity is that fragile. One of them resembled Phillip Seymour Hoffman and made an odd cross between a guffaw and a chuckle whenever a man onscreen was shut down by Carol and/or Therese. Kinda made my day, but also made me want to chuck an entire bucket of popcorn at him? I love that this film doesn’t cater to men, if only to get a reprieve from the fuckboys who dominate nearly every form of media I am capable of accessing.

    One of my favorite parts is Carol telling Harge she wants him to be happy, not because I, like so many white, cis-het bros, need the comfort of knowing women still place men above themselves, but because she recognizes that Harge believes his unhappiness hinges on her decisions, and is completely unwilling to compromise herself for him. She doesn’t owe him her happiness, she can’t and won’t give him more than what she’s already given him, and she’s done allowing him to control and manipulate her. She won’t allow him to shit on her happiness anymore. I never see that shit, man.

    I see Ezra Fitz preying on 16-year-olds and still being seen as the sweet, poetic guy by characters and fans and writers. I see Joe Caputo getting a drawn out backstory to humanize him after he coerces his former boss into blowing him (that boss who still fucks him and his handlebar mustache. But, like, why?), and the get the sinking feeling that the audience is being primed to root for him. I see Fitzgerald Grant get painted as the nice guy, and his brilliant, cutthroat long suffering wife as a harpy for not letting him cheat on her AND slack off in his job. I see Sam Healy somehow still being employed after abusing his position over and over and over. Ever seen Scooby Doo: Mystery Incorporated? Probably not because you’re likely a self-respecting adult, but a particular story line consists of Shaggy treating Velma like garbage, and Velma chasing him like Harge chases Carol’s affections. It’s all so gross.

    I watch entirely too many movies and TV shows, but in all of them, women are painstakingly catering to men, even at the expense of their happiness or career or personal freedom. The audience is expected to put these (white) men on pedestals whether or not they earn them, whether or not they contribute more than their female or POC counterparts. Meanwhile, a woman who doesn’t suffer before becoming great or talented is thought to be a “Mary-Sue”. I am goddamn sick of it, and so grateful for Carol. I don’t care that the Academy wants to sleep on this film, just like I don’t care that a bunch of whiny white dudes couldn’t stomach Star Wars: Episode VII. I’m gonna use all that money I’m saving (by not seeing the Revenant [or any other film that features a fuckboy white savior traveling somewhere in order to subjugate women/POC/children/the elderly/aliens/puppies/earthworms/literally anyone or thing else], not buying them on DVD, and not buying an antenna that would enable me to watch the blindingly white Academy Awards this year) and I’m going to spend that money watching Carol and Star Wars over and over and over.

    Because according to the Academy Awards men care about men, and women care about men. But I care about women. Real and fictional, platonically and romantically, near and far. And Carol makes the very short list of films that reflect my feelings.

    • you seriously need to email this to Chris Rock and hope he reads it at Oscar night. Everyone in the assembly that night should here exactly this.

  31. Yes, and let’s not forget some of these voters actually got snubbed by women – lesbians included – in real life, so the movie must have stirred unpleasant memories in them.
    I remember once coming across a paperback novel by a neglected female 19th century novelist, its only recommendation the blurb on the jacket pointing out how this woman’s male characters were all bumbling fools! And flat, one-dimensional, it said. I was incensed; can you imagine a novel written by a male novelist having comparative criticism of his female characters singled out as the defining feature of his style?
    I was too pissed off to buy the book which, it later dawned on me, I would very much want to read.

  32. I absolutely loved Carol, and it 100% should have won ALL the awards. (I loved Furiosa: Fury Road too, in a completely different way.)
    However, I don’t JUST want queer films that dismiss men (though I don’t want ones where they are rescuing heroes either, ugh). I am a bisexual woman in a poly relationship set up and I went to see Carol with my girlfriend and we adored it. I went to see Duke of Burgundy whenever that came out with my boyfriend, and we loved it. I saw Blue is the Warmest Colour alone and thought it was terrific. But sometimes I watch these things as a bi woman and I get tired of not seeing myself reflected. I question myself for loving a man, because I see tiresome het relationships and amazing queer relationships and often the two seem irreconcilable. Carol and Therese and Adèle are always made to see their relationships with men as a mistake, and indeed they are because all the men in these films are the absolute worst. I’m not gonna lie, I love these films but they get me down. Show me some films where relationships with everyone have merit and are as complex and beautiful and terrifying as all relationships have the potential to be!
    I’m an (aspiring) screenwriter by trade, and I want to write scripts that reflect my life too. Anyone got any suggestions for films that embrace bi experiences?

    • this is SO real. love to see relationships between ladies in great films, but every single time the men in their past are awful mistakes/shallow partners. that obviously is a real thing that can happen, but i’d love to see some more films that are either about lesbians who aren’t worrying about a heterosexual past, or bisexual/pansexual/queer women who don’t regret the men in their lives now that they are in love with a woman

    • “Carol and Therese and Adèle are always made to see their relationships with men as a mistake, and indeed they are because all the men in these films are the absolute worst.”

      they’re made to seem like a mistake because they are. whether the men are awful or not isn’t the point. they’re gay.

  33. My only problem w/ this piece (NONE w/ Carol!) is the use of the term “misandry”.

    As the equal/opposite of “misogyny”, it would seem to indicate an *unwarranted* hatred of the particular gender in question.

    I don’t see the examples of men in Carol as portraying misandry: not by Highsmith, not by Nagy, not by Haynes, not by the female characters in the story.

    The story in no way suggests “All Men Suck”. It just says “these men suck . . . and look, they have a whole 1952 (2016?) society to support and reinforce their suckitude”.

    As far as Carol & Therese go, as locked into each other as they are, the only male character they really needed, was that delightfully efficient waiter: give us our creamed-spinach-over-poached-eggs and martinis, and Get Outta Here! ;-)

    Fear not, men: when the plumbing goes kaput at Carol&Therese’s apartment, I’ve no doubt they’d be calling (in 1953) a male super. Your time WILL come again…

    • I agree with this so much! The problem is that “these men are portrayed in an unflattering way”, not “fuck all men” message. Misandry is stupid, even as a joke. As a masculine-of-center person I get hit by Misandry aesthetic and attitudes as splash damage, even if I’m not male.

  34. Why are the nominations for Best Actress always listed after the nominations for Best Supporting Actor?

  35. Great comments about Fury Road – I rave about that movie so much, but the advertising and bare presence of Max throughout definitely give away the game.

    And as much as I hate to see that Carol wasn’t nominated for best picture, I have to say that I’m just thrilled it was nominated at all, because I live in a conservative wasteland that wouldn’t even show the movie prior to its nominations.

    But now I can finally go see it! (awkward wave of half-hearted thanks to the Oscar folks)

  36. First i have to apologise for posting something long and i will understand if its going to be ommitted. Despite the fact i dont think Harge is demonised and the movie is much more fultifaceted, i think that the main point of the article does justice. It seems like this film brings forth the best and the worst in the policy of controling sexuality (to remind Foucault) and among them there is an inner fear related to the decision to take your vagina outside of the male centric control. Patricia Higmsmith from her Grave makes a significant point when she says somewhere in the book that in the Trial (like in the Nominees) men gave weird looks to Carol feeling sorry for her because “such a pretty woman didnt want men to satisfy her” or something like that. In comparison and although i like Di Caprio as a “public figure”, Academy celebrates a film (ONE MORE!!) were white men try to control nature, the big vagina, presenting themselves as the innocent victims!. Sorry i go with the bear! In anthropological terms this is the definition of macho mentality! In this planet and industry Carol and Todd Haynnes were left outside from best picture/director category. Is not as important as the refugee crisis and the rise of neofasism is (in its western, neonazi, or in its midleeastern, tzihandists, version) BUT indicates that we go back to, or remain deep into, very conservative times. And that the force to cannibalise the “Other” (in colour, gender, class religion you name it) is may ritualised, may hidden behind complicated gestures, costumes and wines but its still present! And by the way i dont have to be a black to fight back for them i dont have to be gay to fight back for you, (Mr Haynnes or Mrs Naggy or the wonderfull producers) i dont have to be a worker to fight back for those. This is not “academic or liberal bullshit”. This is real peoples lives. 22 years ago, 10 of January 1994, a boy i was in love with as a young girl myself, commited suicide because he was homosexual and he didnt want to dissapoint his mother. In my corner of the Mediterranean world when lgtb communities heard that a mainstream yet fearless public figure like Blanchett (propably the most powerfull actress across planet right now and it was important) was!! indeed going to play Carol they went wild and the tweet #herecomescarolaird# (or something like that) went also wild saying this is for Gia (died in the 80s) or for him or for her. I also remember that boy, my suicidal love. And the pain of his mother. Well #here comes homophobic rasism again# and if we think we live in a bubble and it is not going to knock on our door one day we are way out of base! The last months there were mean homophobic tweets conserning Carol havent you noticed, a film about a gender minority in a white (among other things) Planet and Hollywood. Well Gay men get the outrage, but especially Gay Women get the silence, having to be in the closet, and silence is a synonymous to not existence, to a semiotic death. In Gender Studies we say that the autobiography, especially that of women, constructs a different type of anthropological text transcending the male criteria, as it overlaps the big narratives of the Power, bringing in front the hidden language of the marginalised of all types. In that sense Carol is the first female movie ever as it does not reproduces machismo in any sense setting a new kind of criteria, and well done mr Haynnes and the rest you wrote history! Pathetic though you even thought you could go away with the claim it was not lesbian it was all human. Yes it was but majorities and Power ommit from the notion of Human what does not resemble to them. Unless a public figure (never a collectivity because its an effort to personalise the social sin) can produce money or laughs “for the Machine” (to quote Mario Savio) and commersialise him or herself! Guess what! You havent “trick” them! Fact of life! (In loving memory of Lazaros, + 10/1/1994)

  37. As much as I understand the reactions to the lily-white nominations and the Carol snub, I do feel sad that all that seems to have completely buried the fact that an openly trans woman was nominated for an Oscar yesterday! (Second trans woman ever to be nominated, but possibly the first openly?)

  38. Amen.

    I took my husband to see Carol with me and tbh we were both a little nervous about it (I mean he’s usually pretty great about the queer but he is a straight cis man and I just wasn’t sure how’d it go). And. He. Loved. It! We had really similar reactions – we were both a little worried about the power difference between Carol and Therese at the beginning but were totally on board by the time they got together, and we both kind of shipped Therese and the Carrie Brownstein character.

    TL;DR – I know one straight cis man who loved Carol, so I don’t know what’s wrong with all those male Academy nominators. Ugh.

  39. Where to begin with this badly-written, ill-thought out argument? First, the film probably missed out on a best picture nod by just a few votes so to claim it’s the victim of some group-think conspiracy is ridiculous.

    Next, maybe, just maybe, some people didn’t like the film because it’s very slow-moving and there’s not much emotional pay-off. There’s no heat between these two actors.

    Also, the reference to the critic saying Carol would never leave Kyle Chandler is clearly a joke. It’s not written in the context of a film review. He’s kidding and referencing the fact that he finds Chandler attractive.

    Finally, Carol is a film. It is not a human being with thoughts and feelings. Writing “If Carol really wanted an Oscar for Best Picture” indicates this writer is too emotional to think clearly and rationally.

    End of discussion.

    • A man has arrived to declare the discussion over, ladies! Time to pack it up and go! Move along now, don’t want to be late getting dinner on the table!

        • Oh Gavin, thank you for beautifully demonstrating how so many men react when the conversation does not center on them. You have unwittingly punctuated every point I made, and the irony of you not realizing it delights me to no end.

          • And thank you for giving evidence to support the stereotype that lesbians are humorless and incapable of understand nuance and admitting when they’re wrong. I think my work here is done. I leave you with the satisfaction of knowing that you are a bad writer who does not express herself well.

          • Which one was the humorous part? The one where you tell us to shut up (sorry if I’m misreading your “End of discussion” crap) or the one where you call us too emotional?



      In case you’re new to lesbians, Gavin, there is no end of discussion. It’s called processing.

    • “support the stereotype that lesbians are humorless and incapable of understand nuance and admitting when they’re wrong.”

      Lol, the irony here. I’d like to note that gavin is the user Contention from the Awards Watch forum (a forum centered on awards season, film and TV). He has been hating on the film since before watching it and has been insufferable about it since. Pay no mind.

  40. Well put! It’s a wonderful movie! I guess I’m living in a Bay Area bubble, but the theater I saw it in, all the men in the theater seemed to totally understand where Rooney’s character was coming from in being in love with Carol. She’s played by a gorgeous actress but also her speech at the end of the movie where she says she loves her made me and the whole audience melt.

    The audience I saw it with loved the movie (both male and female). :)

    • Gavin, buddy, are you lost? Do you need directions? Or perhaps some handiwork done around the house? Perhaps you came in search of some cats. I highly recommend adopting one. Cat hair goes very nicely with flannel.

  41. I love this article but I wish the term ‘misandry’ weren’t in the headline. I think it belies the thoughtfulness in the article by implying that the film or its characters had contempt or hatred for men. They just didn’t need them. Therese’s world is entirely about Carol, and Carol’s is entirely about Therese and Rindy. I wouldn’t call that misandry because it feeds into stereotype that lesbians are that way because they hate men. Other than that term in the title, I think this is spot on.

  42. That was just super, Heather.

    Nothing makes a man’s dick shrivel faster than the knowledge that some woman doesn’t give a shit about him.

  43. I guess I’m in the minority because I didn’t think I was supposed to laugh at all the men in the movie. Sure, the notions salesman. In fact, I kept expecting one of them to tell him, “You really don’t have anything we want,” but of course it was implied.
    It’s also ironic that Cate and Todd and company spoke about the treatment of the men in the movie during one of their many press panels, and said they liked that Phyllis Nagy’s script didn’t demonize them, or treat them poorly. I sort of agree with that.
    I wasn’t totally unsympathetic to Harge; like many men of his time he was raised to view women and their roles (male and female) a certain way and he acted accordingly. I resented him using Rindy to try and keep Carol and to punish her, but men and women still do that today, use their children to hurt or influence each other. And regardless of my rooting for her with Therese, I don’t give Carol a pass for having an affair with Abby. No matter your problems, that’s not the way to go about things.
    And in his own way, I do think Harge loved her, he just couldn’t ever make her happy.
    I never cared for Richard in the book or movie because he did seem to steamroll Therese (much like Frank did with Natalia if you are familiar with the Otalia storyline from Guiding Light), but I didn’t laugh at him. And you could also blame Therese for stringing him along if she really had no interest.
    Having said all that, I do agree though that the fact that the women in the film choose each other and have an implied happy ending are factors in the snub, and probably the fact also that we haven’t had a straightforward romance like this in a while, gay or straight, that has no other real dramatic subplot or purpose. This movie exists to watch Carol/Therese fall in love. For some voters, I guess something that straightforward and “pure” just isn’t relatable.

  44. I’m a man, and Carol is one of my top 5 movies of 2015. I doubt that I’m so rare an example of such a film-lover.

  45. BTW, given that Fury Road is a Mad Max movie, of course they’re gonna promote it as such. That’s why people went to see it. Also, on the poster I’ve seen the most Furiosa is in the foreground, Max in the background.

  46. I have to disagree. Room was nominated for best picture this year and that movie is focused on a woman and her son as the main characters and how they overcome a bad situation together. It’s a beautiful story. Carol was just not written that well.

    • Exactly! That’s why it got a nomination for Best Screenplay! It wasn’t shot, or acted well, either, that’s what the other noms tried to express.
      Gee whiz, I don’t know why we’re complaining like a bunch of overexcited chicklets, we ought to be SO grateful, because our dumb movie that got prizes and nominations by about every other festival and magazine and critic out there obviously just wasn’t good enough for the esteemed and impartial academy..

    • How is the struggle of a parent and their son, abused and forced in a room for years, related to Carol? People and academy members can easily empathize with Room’s very direct and harrowing story and its suffering characters.

  47. What a bloody perfect ‘piece’ and soooooooooo spot on!!!! Here it says it all in a nutshell!!!

  48. I’m a little confused. What did the author (or whoever wrote the headline) mean by the use of the word “misandry”? I understand the word to mean “hatred of men.” How then would misandry be to blame for a group largely made up of men (the Academy) dismissing a movie because it focuses on women’s experience? That would be misogyny.

    If the meaning was that the characters are “guilty” of misandry, and therefore the men in the Academy didn’t care for the movie, I think it’s a gross mischaracterization of Carol and Therese. They regarded the overbearing men in their lives as overbearing, and unjust laws as unjust, but never once did I read in their behavior a contempt for men in general.

  49. The film was shit. It was a travesty of Highsmith’s book and did everything it could to turn a brave and frightening love affair into a boring, middle class, made for men piece of trivia in which neither love nor lesbians got any kind of a fair crack. It is an obscenity that anyone thinks this futile piece of airbrushed fakery and manageable mateiness no one would see as fighting for more than a pet cat posing as torrid sexual rebellion under the bitterest odds should get any accolade whatsoever. What surprises me is that no one’s saying this BUT me. It’s conformist, politically correct trash and Patricia Highsmith, not to mention the actual lesbians living at that time, and anyone experiencing love as something more than chummy propaganda for the passionless, deserves better.

    • Well, has the thought ever crossed your mind that maybe it’s because no one is actually thinking this BUT you? It’s okay to not like something, but you should accept that other people do. And not just a few, A LOT of other people.

    • If you think it was boring then you don’t have much tolerance. What lesbian film did you like? Anything with Gina Gershon? LOL.
      It was a beautiful film.
      Most films adapted from novels don’t follow it word for word. Give me a break. At least this film happened.

    • As much as I enjoy some of her writing, in reality Patricia Highsmith was a truly vile anti-Semite and behaved absolutely horrendously to everyone with whom she was ever in a relationship. So I don’t know what she deserved.

  50. The issue seems to be the Oscar community has an issue with a gay themed film that has NO negative ending (for the most part).
    Most of the other gay themed films that get nominated and win have negative outcomes or are negative to a degree.
    This is a story of love. That seems to be the issue and it’s sad. It’s a beautiful film and I am not a lesbian.

  51. As upsetting as this is, I can’t express how excited I was when this article popped up in my facebook feed via Rose McGowan. Rose McGowan reads Autostraddle, y’all!

  52. : ) nothing promotes equality more than showing someone how much you don’t respect them and how unnecessary their sex is.

  53. The reason Carol was NOT nominated while previous gay themed movies WERE is at least partially a result of the new “1st Place” rule, meaning that even if a majority of Academy voters considered it ONE of their favorites, it would still be snubbed if enough voters didn’t consider it their #1 choice. That’s what happened between The Kids… and Carol.

  54. You might be right, about thee reason why the movie didn’t get The Oscar. But all I see is a man who loves a woman and desperately is trying to keep her. In ways that aren’t good off course, but illustrate his helplessnes, and the battle he can never win. I think your interpretation of his actions in this blog is saying more about yourself than it is saying about the character. I was really surprises by your judgements about the character of Harge. And also about the other male part, boyfriend Therese. A girlfreind would have reacted the same if she thought she had booked a romantic trip to Paris with her lover. (Which doesn’t mean that if he had payed better attention he should have steen that Therese wasn’t in love the way he was, but then again, who hasn’t been there…)
    Maybe we forget to tell men that even if we don’t want romantic relationships with them they are still valued, wanted and loved.

  55. Brokeback Mountain never felt like it was encouraging the audience to hate and disrespect women. You can do a lesbian story that’s not centred around a man without treating all your male characters unsympathetic jerks. Movies that treat women like that don’t get best picture noms either.

  56. I actually came here late off of arguments defending the new Teela in Masters of the Universe Revelation.

    That said, I can imagine that “Carol” pisses men off…RIGHTLY so. I’ve been writing stories since I was a little boy. I’ve studied and worked hard to master the art of Professional Writng. I spent over TWENTY YEARS working on my official ‘First Novel,’ Blood Lords.

    While it kind of floundered on Kindle as NO agent wanted to represent it (Because…Vampires, LOL), I think it’s a well-written story that PROVES my dedication to the written word.

    In it I have several strong female characters who contribute as much to the story as the main male protagonist. I DON’T treat women like simpering, whimpering, weak props to make the males shine. It’s something I would NEVER do in my writing, as it’s NOT reflective of REAL life. And ALL good fiction MUST have some semblance of reality, no matter how much it take place in a world of TOTAL Fantasy.

    There’s even a Lesbian scene with my heterosexual female co-lead that is respectful and speaks to what a REAL heterosexual woman might be feeling after such an experience. It in no way demeans or disrespects either her or her partner during that scene. While I myself might not be either homosexual OR female, a good writer can grasp the fundamental aspects of humanity that unites, rather than divides, ALL people.

    And that’s REALLY my biggest issue with how “Carol” is described. It’s almost as if the setup is that the female characters are Lesbian because, and ONLY BECAUSE, they are united in their hatred of men. I have Lesbian friends; I assure you, the ones I have do NOT hate men…they just LOVE Women! LOL (Although from them AND many heterosexual women, there is a disturbing narrative of misogyny prevalent in their lives. It does make even myself depressed and disgusted at being male at times.) But the thing is, there ARE positive male influences out there, even if they seem to much rarer these days. To NOT acknowledge that in one’s work is akin to a male author writing ALL women as subordinate kitchen-tending, baby-making slaves, which we ALL know is as FAR from the Truth as you can get.

    These days, masculinity is under attack, and many women who represent Third-Wave Feminism (and I use this term because I know many Feminists that are respectful of the beneficial elements of masculinity, even if damning–rightly so–the Patriarchy, LOL) are zeroed in on a generalized form of ‘maleness,’ rather than specific offending parameters of male behavior they should be viewing more diligently. I have ZERO problem with females calling males out on their mysogynistic bullshit, but to damn ALL males because of what the Far Right has pushed onto women simply isn’t a fair representation of either males OR reality. These are actions that even many more traditional Feminismts decry. Because when you place an entire sex under the sweeping generalized categories such as Mysogynistic and Abusive and Inconsiderate, you are perpetuating the VERY SAME thinking that started the problem in the first place!

    The takeaway here is that we are ALL people and people should treat all other people RESPECTFULLY regardless of Race, Gender, Color, Sexual-Preference, or Religion. The sooner we ALL do that, and include that in our fiction as well, the BETTER off we ALL are.

    If you’ve read this far, thank you for considering my words! :)

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