While it appears that some of the discussion on social media (particularly among those that are part of quote-unquote Film Twitter) has been negative, by and large, the reviews and reception of “Queen & Slim” would have you believe that the directorial debut of Melina Matsoukas is one of the best films of the year. But if you just judged such things based on awards recognition, such as nominations for Golden Globes, you may be inclined to think the opposite. But according to the film’s director, there’s a good reason why “Queen & Slim” didn’t make the Golden Globes nominations — the Hollywood Foreign Press Association just didn’t watch the film.
Speaking to Variety, Matsoukas spoke candidly about her frustration over “Queen & Slim” not getting the recognition it deserves. She doesn’t feel as if she’s owed any specific nominations, but the filmmaker is discouraged by the complete lack of regard the HFPA gave towards her film, especially after Universal attempted to have multiple Globes consideration screenings that were, uh, sparsely-attended, to say the least.
“We held three screenings for the HFPA and almost no members attended,” Matsoukas said. “For me, it’s reflective of their voting body. It’s not reflective of the society in which we live in or the industry as it stands today. They don’t value the stories that represent all of us, and those stories are so often disregarded and discredited, as are their filmmakers.”
The filmmaker added, “It’s extremely discouraging. It’s extremely infuriating. And it just represents an archaic system that is full of people who don’t value us.”
Variety reports that no more than four people showed up at those three screenings, which is incredibly odd for a film with the buzz and studio-push that “Queen & Slim” has. Of course, that might not be reflective of the voting body’s reluctance to give the film a shot, given that many voters were sent screener DVDs of the film, right? Well, the report also claims that the studio found that there was such a lack of HFPA viewing, even with screeners, that Universal had to cancel a November press conference designed as a campaign for Golden Globes noms.
Not only is the HFPA avoiding her film, but Matsoukas also talked about some recent incidents that she experienced while attending events put on by the organization.
“I was warned by three different people that I may be harassed or spoken to in an inappropriate way, which I was,” she said about an event she attended.
She added that, at the event, she was approached by an HFPA member who wanted to pitch her an idea for a film. However, she said, “And they used a very archaic term in the pitch, and I found it quite offensive and disrespectful to me as a woman of color.”
If what Matsoukas and the report says is true, it would appear that “Queen & Slim” was doomed before it ever was released, at least in the eyes of the voters who decide who wins Golden Globes. Will this carry over to the Oscars or other awards ceremonies? We’ll have to wait and see.
“Queen & Slim” is in theaters now. And it really is worth checking out.