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Don’t EVEN Start….

How many days, weeks and months did I have to read about the movie Juno and Ellen Page? So if I write about Berenice Bejo you’ll have have to bear with me.

imageWhen I first started writing about this beautiful and marvelous actor I stated that the movie: The Artist was a movie that was specifically written for HER by her husband the director of the movie Michel Hazanavicius. I saw The Help and yes Octavia Butler was good [If you like the Sapphire stereotype].

Bejo is a woman of color making her role in The Artist essentially the result of “Color Blind” casting. “Color Blind” casting, or integrated casting is done without considering the actor’s ethnicity. As a result Bejo’s acting far exceeded what anyone was expecting, unfortunately since Hollywood still refuses to see women of color “beyond the pale” they rewarded what made them most comfortable: An African American actress in the stereotypical Mammy role.

I just came across this video. Remember that I did not see The Artist win the Academy Award for Best Picture 2012 because I no longer have cable and my digital television lost reception that night, oh the woes of living: Life On The Cheap.
But director of The Artist: Michel Hazavanicious knows who to thank first for the success of his film:



If Berenice Bejo had won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress it would have turned the assumptions that Hollywood promotes concerning women of color on its head. How could Hollywood producers justify giving a non white woman an award that doesn't depend on the  paradigmatic assumptions of a racist society? Bejo played a combination of great white Hollywood female stars: Nazi Sympathizer Claudette Colbert, Joan Crawford, Marlene Deitrich.
 A woman in such a role is reminiscent of how Josephine Baker became a world reknown star in France at a time when the only non racist treatment sho could get as a performer was in Paris, France.
So when Michel Hazanavicius thanked his wife Berenice Bejo, he was doing so because he knew exactly what I am writing in this post and it is exactly why Hollywood gave the Oscar to the White Man in the movie. Don't get me wrong Jean Dujardin was great, but it was Bejo's movie and that's how racism works. Effectively applied racism is so subtle that identifying it as such is often questioned, or considered a figment of one's imagination.  Still the director saw it, and guess what? I also know and now you do to.

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