There was another who implied that all the “commotion” over her in recent months was simply because of the amount of “empathy and sympathy” that her character draws out from audiences, as if that effect on the viewer had nothing to do with her skill as an actress and everything to do with the fact that she was playing a slave. All unsurprising estimations from the 94% white, 76% male voting Academy.
Another voter’s remarks, though, especially stood out, pointing to a thread that has become a large component in Lupita’s meteoric (and ultimately well-deserved) rise from hardworking unknown to A-List it girl. The voter’s assessment was not just of her performance in the film, but her performance off screen. He (or she) commended the actress for “handling herself impeccably” during awards season, adding:
“She has acted like a movie star: she looks great, she is grateful, there’s no pictures of her drunk at some party. She’s played her part well.”
It may seem harmless on one level, but the comment is enormously telling. It highlights not only the politics that we are all vaguely aware of when it comes to who does and doesn’t get the Oscar, but the politics of respectability that have, for better or worse, colored so much of Lupita’s attention and success. Because what if Lupitahadn’tplayed her so-called part so well? What if shehadbeen snapped drunk at a party? What if she wasn’t Ivy-League educated, poised, articulate, calculatedly and well-styled, full of such earnest awe and gratitude? And more importantly, what “part,” exactly, is she expected to play?