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Men Too Often Hide Good Looks for Oscar

March 08, 2004

Re "Today, a Movie Beauty's Got to Look Beastly," by Lauren Sandler, Commentary, March 2:

A quick check of previous Oscar nominees and winners of best-acting Oscars reveals numerous "uglied-up" men, including Daniel Day-Lewis ("My Left Foot"), Tom Hanks ("Philadelphia"), Gerard Depardieu (as a prosthetically enhanced Cyrano), Ralph Fiennes ("The English Patient"), Russell Crowe ("The Insider") and, best of all, John Hurt ("The Elephant Man").

By the same token, numerous awards have been given to glamorous women playing intelligent roles, sans uglification, including Julia Roberts ("Erin Brockovich"), Gwyneth Paltrow ("Shakespeare in Love"), Susan Sarandon ("Dead Man Walking"), Holly Hunter ("The Piano"), Emma Thompson ("Howards End"), Jodie Foster ("Silence of the Lambs"), etc.

Sandler picks two recent winners (Halle Berry and Charlize Theron) and tries to paint a picture of oppression. She fails miserably.

John Blakey

Manhattan Beach

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One important point was missing from Sandler's commentary. Not only do women have to play down their looks to be taken seriously, many of them must also endure on-screen abuse before they are deemed worthy of an Oscar.

See Jodie Foster ("The Accused"), Halle Berry ("Monster's Ball"), Charlize Theron ("Monster") and Holly Hunter ("The Piano"). Apparently, being talented and beautiful isn't enough. Women must be subjugated and appear vulnerable to achieve this crowning success.

Carla Nardoni

Los Angeles

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