Sunday, April 19, 2009

Through the Opera Glasses - 13 - Actors' Sexualization Versus Talent, Part 2

Last week I looked at high profile, cerebral actors and actresses - and how easy it was to locate super-hot sexy shots of the actresses. But not the actors. I wondered whether the actresses felt the need to portray themselves as highly sexualized, even though five of the six women are Oscar winners, and the sixth (Julianne Moore) has been nominated for an Academy Award four times.

On the other hand, I also wondered if these women felt that they had every right to be sexy, especially since most of their film roles were not. A revenge-of-the-nerdy-girls kind of thing.

This week, I'm looking at a different group of actors and actresses. These are the acknowleged hotties.

I'll start with the actresses.

Jessica Alba

Kate Beckinsale

Jessica Biel

Angelina Jolie

Eva Longoria

Eva Mendes

Among this group of women, the only Oscar winner is Angelina Jolie. Other major award winners in this group are:

Kate Beckinsale - London Critics Circle Film Award

Jessica Biel - ShoWest Star of Tomorrow Award 2005

Eva Longoria - Screen Actors Guild Award

The obvious question arises: are these actresses not taken seriously because they showcase their beauty and sexuality? Every one of them have an edgy film in their CV's (the showbiz resume) - except for Eva Longoria, who has an edgy TV show instead.

Jessica Alba - Sin City - directed by Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller

Kate Beckinsale - Winged Creatures - directed by Rowan Woods

Jessica Biel - The Illusionist - directed by Neil Burger

Angelina Jolie - A Mighty Heart - directed by Michael Winterbottom

Eva Longoria - Desperate Housewives - created by Marc Cherry

Eva Mendes - Once Upon a Time in Mexico - Robert Rodriguez

Now, let's have a look at the hottie men. Last week I could barely find a shirt-opened-to-expose-some-chest shots of the actors. This week...easy peasy!

Jensen Ackles

Jamie Bamber

Vin Diesel

Josh Holloway

Dwayne Johnson

Jason Statham

What do we make of our men here? Are they merely brawny, not capable of being brainy?

Half of these actors are television actors. Half of them are action film stars. Believe it or not, the roughest-toughest of them - Vin Diesel - is also a writer, a director and a producer.

Do you suppose the hottie men will have their chance to give outstanding performances in cutting-edge films? In this group, surprisingly, the women hold the slight advantage over the men in the quality of roles they've been able to play. Will Josh Holloway be doomed to play good ole boys after Lost wraps? Will The Rock be forced to play Scorpion Kings, or will Dwayne Johnson find a challenging role he can truly inhabit?

Watermaid says Isn't it a question of age and the times in which we are living?

Thomma Lyn says there is an unfortunate tendency to typecast talented actors and/or actresses into "same old, same old" roles to showcase their Eye Candy Quotient instead of their acting talent.

Jeeves says these actors also become showcases.


Anonymous said...

Julia, I haven't been back to see which actors and actresses you looked at before, but isn't it a question of age and the times in which we are living?

In the U.K. we have a TV series called 'Ashes to Ashes' which is about cops in the 80s. In last night's episode, one of them stripped with a colleague shouting, 'Show us the full Monty!'. It was unheard of back then but nowadays both sexes reveal their bodies. There are actors here, many of whom can be found baring at least their chests on the internet.

Thomma Lyn said...

An excellent, thought-provoking post, Julia! I think on the whole, women still tend to be more sexualized than men, but more and more, a high Eye Candy Quotient seems to be expected of both men and women performers: actors, rock stars, what-have-you. It says a lot to me about the unfortunate tendency of many people to value appearance over substance, as does typecasting talented actors and/or actresses into "same old, same old" roles to showcase their Eye Candy Quotient instead of their acting talent.

Julia Smith said...

Watermaid - Women have reached a point where they are now aggressively expressing themselves as sexual beings on their own terms. In that vein, I was pleasantly surprised at last week's sexy shots of actresses like Cate Blanchett, Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet. But I would have been happier to see equally sexy shots of actors like Johnny Depp, Viggo Mortensen and Clive Owen. But they weren't available to find - not like the women's shots were.

Thomma Lyn - I had to pick my husband's brain on this one, as we searched for the hottie actors and actresses. We quickly noticed that all the hunky guys were often action flick actors. The male equivalent to the sexy female bombshell. Unfortunately, they appear to be just as trapped by their 'hotness' as the women. But I wish them all the best in breaking out of that.

Jeeves said...

Somewhere do these actors also become showcases. Is something required beyond talent. Well, very nice post.

Isabella Snow said...

Those women are nerdy in their films? Are you kidding? Eva Mendes gets fingered by Joaquin Phoenix in the first 2 minutes of We Own the Night! And Alba is totally sexy in Dark Angel, she dresses like a tarty ninja! And Jolie?? Mr and Mrs Smith?? Kissing in the rain??

I did not know who Jamie Bamber was until recently when I saw the new UK Law and Order -- he is one fine mofo!!!

Julia Smith said...

Jeeves - And don't get me wrong - I'm in no way opposed to hotties showcasing their amazingness.

Isabella - I don't mean this week's actresses were the nerdy ones. I mean these actresses from last week. Cate Blanchett, Emma Thompson, Jennifer Connelly and Kate Winslet.

I first saw Jamie Bamber as Lt. Archie Kennedy on the Horatio Hornblower series of films with Ioan Gruffudd. Just love Jamie Bamber!

Wylie Kinson said...

A profoundly intellegent reply was beginning to form in my gray matter as I scrolled though your thought-provoking observations on sexualizaion versus talent in the world of acting...
then came upon Lost's Sawyer *sigh*
Sadly, all rational streams of thought dissolved in a pool of my own drool.