Quentin Tarantino talks race, Hateful Eight, Selma snub, and losing to The Hurt Locker
In a new interview with author Bret Easton Ellis for The New York Times’ T Magazine, Quentin Tarantino took a shot at “black critics” and how they respond to his films.
“If you’ve made money being a critic in black culture in the last 20 years you have to deal with me,” Tarantino said. “You must have an opinion of me. You must deal with what I’m saying and deal with the consequences.”
Speaking about criticism of his slavery drama Django Unchained being written and directed by a white man, Tarantino said the color of his skin shouldn’t matter.
“If you sift through the criticism,” he continued, “you’ll see it’s pretty evenly divided between pros and cons. But when the black critics came out with savage think pieces about Django, I couldn’t have cared less. If people don’t like my movies, they don’t like my movies, and if they don’t get it, it doesn’t matter. The bad taste that was left in my mouth had to do with this: It’s been a long time since the subject of a writer’s skin was mentioned as often as mine. You wouldn’t think the color of a writer’s skin should have any effect on the words themselves. In a lot of the more ugly pieces my motives were really brought to bear in the most negative way. It’s like I’m some supervillain coming up with this stuff.”
Tarantino also weighed in on Selma being snubbed at this year’s Oscars, which sparked criticism over the lack of diversity in the roster of nominees. ‘‘She did a really good job on Selma, but Selma deserved an Emmy,” he said of director Ava DuVernay and the Martin Luther King biopic.
And, on the subject of awards, the filmmaker also reflected on Inglourious Basterds losing to The Hurt Locker at the 2010 Oscars for Best Picture, Director, and Original Screenply.
“It bugged me that Mark Boal won Best Screenplay for that movie,” he said. “The Kathryn Bigelow thing — I got it. Look, it was exciting that a woman had made such a good war film, and it was the first movie about the Iraq War that said something. And it wasn’t like I lost to something dreadful. It’s not like E.T. losing to Gandhi.”
Tarantino was criticized for his remarks on Twitter, notably from Toronto International Film Festival artistic director Cameron Bailey. “Tarantino & Bret Easton Ellis have made important work, but their exchanges on race and gender are appalling,” Bailey wrote, before tweeting select quotes from the interview. (“What’s good, Tarantino fans?” Bailey wrote, referencing Nicki Minaj’s slam of Miley Cyrus at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards.)
This is the second interview with Tarantino to cause controversy in as many months. Back in August, in a New York magazine profile, the director was criticized for dismissing Cate Blanchett movies, among other Oscar-friendly features.
“I don’t know if we’re going to be talking about The Town or The Kids Are All Right or An Education 20 or 30 years from now,” he said. “Notes on a Scandal is another one. Philomena. Half of these Cate Blanchett movies — they’re all just like these arty things. I’m not saying they’re bad movies, but I don’t think most of them have a shelf life. But The Fighter or American Hustle — those will be watched in 30 years.”