Tom Ford's directorial debut A
Single Man received a chilly reception Tuesday from the Academy
of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The film, which features a gay
man struggling with the loss of his longtime lover, was given an
Oscar Best Picture snub.
The exclusion does not necessarily come
as a surprise. The academy has only nominated two gay-themed films
to win its top best movie prize: Brokeback Mountain and last
year's Milk. But neither film took home the statue.
Additionally, directors rarely score a best picture nomination on
their first outing.
Colin Firth stars in Ford's big-screen
adaptation of Christopher Isherwood's 1964 novel of the same name as
professor George Falconer. George is the ultimate outsider in 1960s
Los Angeles: middle-aged, gay and British.
Playing George, Firth told Variety,
was an opportunity to experience a range of subtle emotions.
“[George] was smart, and the way he
masks his massive despair is poignant,” Firth said. “That
obsession with external perfection is a sign of panic. He has to
control his exterior world because his interior one is chaos. His
precision is all desperate measures.”
Critics had lauded the film, setting up
expectations of an Oscar nod.
Firth, however, will be representing
the film during the March 7 ceremony. Firth's interpretation of
Falconer has been nominated in the Best Actor category.
At its premiere at the Venice
International Film Festival, the film took home the 3rd
annual Queer Lion award and Firth was named best actor.
Fashion designer turned film director
Ford has said the film has a universal message and should not be
confined to a gay niche.
“It's really a film about love and
isolation that I think all of us feel, so it is very universal,”
Ford said at its Venice premiere. “When I see someone who sees the
film and says, 'It's a gay story,' I don't even know what they are
thinking, it just seems to me a human story.”
Firth agreed, saying the movie is “a
love story, and love is love.” “George misses the love of his
life, and that's that. … George is struggling with an awful lot but
not with his homosexuality. There's a lot of dignity in that.”