Todd Haynes Discusses ‘Carol’ Oscar Snub and Cinema’s Woman Problem in New Interview

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Todd Haynes’ 2015 film Carol, starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara as an unconventional lesbian couple in the 1950s, was one of the strongest, most striking films of the year. So, of course it was devastating when it was snubbed by most major awards shows, including the Academy Awards. The film’s director, Todd Haynes, isn’t one for talking much to the press — and also, frankly, seems immune to awards fever — but this week Big Issue scored an interview that offers insights into the man’s feelings on the Oscars, yes, but also Hollywood and America’s larger problems regarding liberalism and women.

When asked if he felt Carol was snubbed at the Oscars, Haynes simply said “Yes.” He went on, eluding the personal and talking more generally on a shift he sees happening within the country, and how that may have played a part in his film’s lack of awards love.

It’s very hard to determine the sentiment of the country when you look at the political circus unfolding and the kinds of messages that certain parts of the population are responding to. Populist conservative ideology seems to be summoning a new strain of voters. We’re divided.

When asked more specifically if he thinks cinema has a woman problem, he says yes, and that the proof is in the fact that he has heard from lesbians who love Carol, especially because they feel no other film has captured their experience so well.

In this case there has been a groundswell of interest among lesbians. The fact they have felt a movie has never really spoken to them and addressed their lives and experiences like Carol has while also being a film that’s very accessible, in terms of its description of anxiety around love and the slow evolution of a romance, has been thrilling.

He also talked about his love of music, and why he chooses to focus so many of his films on musicians.

Musically and culturally they reflected the contradictions and possibilities and specificities of the times in which they lived. They inspire a bigger story than just the music itself, even though the music is where it begins.

Read the entire interview here. It underscores not only the brilliance of Haynes but also the true lack of progress being made in terms of representation in pop culture.

Haynes’ next film is an adaptation of Brian Selznick’s book, Wonderstruck. It’s being produced by Amazon and will star Julianne Moore, who starred in Haynes’ 2002 film Far from Heaven.