As Sia continues to come under fire for her directorial debut with the film Music, the Hollywood Foreign Press decided to nominate it for a couple of Golden Globe awards.
And honestly, I can’t figure out why on earth they thought this film deserved those nods.
The film is nominated for two Golden Globe awards. The film itself snagged a nod for ‘Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy.’
Kate Hudson was also nominated for ‘Best Performance By an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy.’
Music managed to get all those nods, even after getting sharp criticism from disability activists and allies.
So, what’s the big deal?
For starters, the movie is wildly offensive. Sia came under fire before the movie ever hit theaters, after she chose to cast Dance Moms alum Maddie Ziegler. No, the backlash wasn’t because of Ziegler herself — it’s because she’s a neurotypical actress who was cast as a nonverbal autistic teen.
Sia had every opportunity to cast an autistic actor to play the role, but she chose not to. She excluded disabled and neurodiverse actors from their own narrative. And while she claimed that her “heart has always been in the right place,” it comes off as Ziegler stereotypically mimicking autistic people. Her character feels like a caricature.
Criticisms ahead of the film’s release didn’t sit well with Sia, either. One woman pointed out that some of the criticisms were coming from “several autistic actors” that were ready and able to jump onto the project on short notice, and felt Sia was just making excuses. She noted, “The fact of the matter is zero effort was made to include anyone who is actually autistic.”.
The “Chandelier” singer snapped back, “Maybe you’re just a bad actor.”
At one point, Sia also tweeted, “Grrrrrrrrrr. F*ckity f*ck why don’t you watch my film before you judge it? FURY.”
Well, now people have seen it. And the criticism multiplied exponentially after those living with autism saw how it was portrayed.
A petition demanding the rescindment of the Golden Globe nominations has already garnered well over 50,000 signatures so far.
The campaign cites the film as “severely ableist,” and says it “contributes to harmful stereotypes of autistic people.”
In all seriousness, it feels like Ziegler is mocking autistic people. The petition points out that Ziegler’s portrayal feels like she is “stereotypically mimicking autistic people the exact same way autistic people have been bullied and mocked their entire lives.”
It goes on to say, “It also enforces the idea that autistic people are not good enough and that their autism is better portrayed by someone with no concept of what it is to be autistic.”
There’s also an issue with the inclusion of prone restraint. It’s a commonly opposed practice that can be deadly. The dangerous restraint can cause suffocation and death. And for autistic people being restrained, the experience can also lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other mental health conditions.
“Sia’s decision to include this inhumane treatment is a testament to her ignorance and complete disregard for the safety and needs of autistic people,” the Change.org campaign says.
“The fact that Music has been nominated for two Golden Globes awards illustrates the complete disregard the entire entertainment industry has for inclusivity and minority representation,” it continues. “It will only use autism as inspiration porn to make neurotypicals feel good about their supposed ‘superiority.’”
View the petition here on Change.org.