Well, isn’t this just special? Normally, when we hear any stories about convicted child rapist Roman Polanski, it has something to do with our continually unsuccessful efforts to extradite him from Poland or somewhere else in Europe so we can bring him back to California for sentencing and imprisonment. But this week a different sort of story was breaking in Hollywood. Due to a recent change in the rules for how France selects a nominee for best foreign film at the Oscars, the serial pedophile may be able to qualify for that honor. (Hollywood Reporter)
When France announced it will allow early qualifying theatrical runs for films to be considered for the best foreign-language Oscar, it may have opened the door for Roman Polanski to return to the Oscars with his upcoming An Officer and a Spy.
His retelling of the Dreyfus Affair, tipped to premiere at Venice, is set for a Nov. 13 release in France. In past years, that would have too late for consideration as France’s foreign-language Oscar contender, but with the new rules, announced Wednesday, a short run would qualify it, giving the film a chance between the festival and the Sept. 30 cut off date.
Previously, French rules have required that a film get its full theatrical release France before Sept. 30.
So it doesn’t appear that this rule change was made specifically to benefit Polansky (or if so, they’re not admitting it), but it clearly will work in his favor. His latest film will have a limited release in France in November. Under the original rules, any film released after the end of September wouldn’t make the cut in terms of consideration. France gets to select which film is sent as their nominee at the Oscars every year, and now Polanski will be in the running.
Here’s a question. The French film industry is obviously aware of the prison time hanging over Roman Polanski’s head and what he’s been convicted of doing. (For those of you only just coming to this saga, he was convicted of drugging, raping and sodomizing a 13-year-old child. He has also been credibly accused by dozens of other women who said the director assaulted them when they were young girls.) Do you suppose that they would have the audacity to nominate his film to be entered in the Oscars?
The criminal has already been thrown out of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (though it took them decades to finally get around to it), so would anyone in that institution actually cast a vote for him? In a way, I’d almost like to see the French try it, just so we could get all the members on records in terms of how much depravity and criminality they’re willing to tolerate in the name of their “art.”
Keep in mind that Hollywood has been close to Ground Zero for the #MeToo movement and many of their stars have been some of the loudest critics of men who abused their power over them. Well, there have been women saying “me too” about Roman Polanski for far longer than the current movement has been underway. Is there still enough hypocrisy in LaLaLand to allow them to bite their tongues and clap politely if a Polanski film was listed among the nominees for Best Foreign Film next year? I would love to find out.
I’m willing to offer an alternate suggestion if the fancy folks in Paris and Hollywood are interested. How about a different rule saying that escaped felons convicted of violent crimes who are on the run from the law are not eligible for nominations in any of your film festivals and award shows? No? A bit too much, perhaps? Ah, well… it was worth a try.