Full Retard Gets No Oscars !
What is politically correct when portraying a character on a movie on disability? Please see this video clip from the Ben Stiller film “Tropic Thunder”. One of the characters, played by Robert Downey Jr says that actors who have won Oscars for playing disabled characters did not play “Full Retard” – on the other hand, they win awards by acting just
Stiller’s character in a movie was a mentally challenged person – he acted fully retarded as Simple Jack and failed to win an Oscar.
Downey cites the examples of Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man, Peter Sellers in Being There and Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump and so on he advises Ben Stiller’s character why he would not win any awards. In fact, Sean Penn was nominated for “I am Sam” but did not win as he went “Full Retard”.
While this clip is funny it does raise the question of how much realism is OK to inject into describing the world of a person with a disability? Does too much realism make juries uncomfortable? Juries represent all of us, so does it mean we shy away from facing too much truth?
Take the case of Still Alice. Julianne Moore won an Oscar last year for playing an intellectual giant and university professor battling Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease. One of the criticisms raised was that Moore was maudlin and overly sentimental and the movie itself missed the opportunity to make a deeper impact.