Look at a picture of Leonard Bernstein, any picture. You probably don’t even know exactly who he is, because the American composer, musician and conductor died in 1990. By the way, in the Dakota Building, the same one where John Lennon lived – and the door where he was murdered ten years ago -.
Bernstein was the son of Ukrainian Jews who immigrated to the United States at the beginning of the last century. He was the first American composer, born and raised in the 20th century, to be recognized worldwide as a great talent in classical music – which, at the time, meant being recognized in Europe, where great composers, instruments Was an instrumentalist and conductor of classical music. music.
In addition, he ventured into the pop world, televised concerts for youth, and composed musicals for Broadway, including “West Side Story”, or “Amor, Sublime Amor”, a classic that had previously The film has already been made twice. , the final version, from 2021, directed by Steve Spielberg.
Now check out this photo of Hollywood handsome man Bradley Cooper in the (admittedly brilliant) 2009 comedy “The Hangover.” What is there on the face of one that is not on the face of the other? This is not a joke, the answer is obvious.
“Dad’s nose was huge, beautiful,” Bernstein’s three children, Jamie, Alexander and Nina, said in a joint statement released on Wednesday (16), in which they supported the fake nose after the trailer and the likes of Bradley Cooper defended. The film “Maestro”, which released last Tuesday, has triggered strong reactions on the internet.
Cooper is an American, the son of Italian immigrants on his mother’s side and Irish immigrants on his father’s side, and he is not Jewish. He had the support of Bernstein’s family to make this biopic, which is already considered a potential Oscar nominee for both him and Carey Mulligan, who plays Felicia Montealegre, the composer’s wife and mother of his three children. . The film will travel through film festivals in the second half of the year and will premiere worldwide on Netflix on December 20.
“Jewish face”, screamed the Internet, a term that didn’t even exist until now, but which refers to the controversial “blackface”, the painting of the skin with dark ink to appear black for white actors. The technique used was characterisation, but that, today, is considered racist and unacceptable.
“Blackface”, in addition to taking away work opportunities available to black actors, was also used to ridicule black people in comedy shows produced by whites for whites. Nowadays, be it drama, comedy, carnival, children’s theater, it is unacceptable to darken the skin with makeup in order to become a black person in any situation.
We are all constantly learning how to deal with each other. And changing attitudes, changing your mind, and trying to see things through other people’s eyes is all part of this process.
But the universal public sphere has also become this century’s most angry and suggestive space, set on fire by the ubiquitous social network and the constant patrolling of a section of its users, always ready to feel offended, and Kinds are best. And an almost guaranteed way to cause trouble with the Jewish community is by touching this ultra-sensitive spot: the nose.
The ethnic issue of a non-Jew playing a Jew is beyond comprehension. There is no precise definition of what the act of portraying a character is, but if the time comes when the world is forced to set limits on what that means, it is highly unlikely that a clause will be included. In which an actor or an actress of a certain religion or ethnicity is always forced to find characters who have similar beliefs, similar principles or ancestors who live in the same region of the planet.
However, fake noses are a problem that Hollywood has to deal with from time to time. And consequently the public. Like wigs, accents, or “fat suits”—clothing that makes the performer appear thicker than they actually are—, these gimmicks are always the first impression the public has of an actor or actress’ work.
And if the person behind the wax prosthesis or the padding-filled clothing is a familiar face or body, alienation is natural. Then the acting has to be really sublime to make that obvious trick fade into the background, otherwise all you’ll be seeing is a fake nose or a rubber belly of an acquaintance.
Like life, isn’t it? Have you ever met someone who had a radical nose change, and managed to act naturally, as if nothing had happened? And if you did, didn’t you make the same comment immediately after the person got out of your way?
One of the most famous fake noses in Hollywood was used by Nicole Kidman in “The Hours,” a film for which she won her only Oscar in 2003, playing writer (with a big nose, but not a Jew) Virginia. Was. Wolf.
When she was called onstage to present the Best Actress award that night, actor Denzel Washington opened the envelope containing the winner’s name and joked: “And the Oscar goes to… Nicole Kidman, for a nose.” In English, “by the nose” means something like “by a hair’s breadth”. Of course everyone understood what Denzel was talking about there.
But this example shows that there are more nuances between fake noses and movie awards. Beautiful actresses who hide their beauty, sometimes natural, sometimes hard-earned, behind ugly gimmicks for a role, are often seen as promiscuous.
It’s as if the world can’t believe that a woman who was fortunate enough to be beautiful would give up that gift for a job. If physical beauty is the last frontier that political correctness will one day face, then giving it up may be the greatest act of self-sacrifice anyone can do. Or, at least, it seems Oscar voters think so.
Goddess Charlize Theron also won her only statuette for her performance in the 2003 film “Monster – Assassin’s Desire,” in which she appears practically deformed.
But this is not common among actors. Robert De Niro, a handsome man, won his second Oscar for a film in which he appears bloated, but he actually won it for playing the final, decaying phase of fake-nosed boxer Jake LaMotta in 1980’s Raging Bull. Increase your weight
Tom Hanks won his first Oscar in 1994 for “Philadelphia,” in which he played a gay lawyer who is fired from his firm when his bosses discover he is HIV positive. In the final stages of his character, when the disease takes over his body, Hanks lost a lot of weight.
It remains to be seen if Bradley Cooper’s fake nose, a handsome, talented and manly man, will become the true hero of “Maestro” and create a shadowy smokescreen in front of a story that needs to be told. Leonard Bernstein’s.