Django Unchained is Quentin Tarantino’s newest addition to his repertoire of eclectic movies, however even compared to such shocking works as Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill this movie has encountered much opposition. It is no secret that Tarantino has an affinity for the lewd and violent, often containing explosions of blood and startling amounts of foul language in his movies, but the controversy surrounding Django Unchained is claims of racism. There has been a wave of dialogue about the use of racial slurs in the movie, even to the point of turning away moviegoers such as Spike Lee. Lee is known for his opposition to Tarantino, having made claims of racism against him in the past. However, the outcry from critics has been met with praise, with Django having been nominated for five Academy Awards and winning two Golden Globes.
Unfortunately, rather than appreciating the recognition given to such a controversial film, fans of Django have criticized the neglect of Jamie Foxx (Django) from awards ceremonies. Foxx has not gained recognition during the Golden Globes nor the Academy Awards, which some people consider to be offensive. Claims from fans of the movie are that the purpose of this movie is the ability of an African American man to overcome and succeed, and by not awarding Foxx with an award, that purpose is being undermined.
I have seen the movie, and I did not find it racist in the least. However, it is indeed a fictionalization of historical events, like many other movies. In fact, I find it much less offensive than movies such as Disney’s Pocahontas, which directly twists actual events or real people into a lighthearted children’s story. Django humanizes people who were slaves, and does so without idealizing them. Through this film we are given many perspectives of the effects of enslavement on human beings. This movie shows that some men, like Django, become heroes, some such as Stephen become villains, and all are victims of an oppressive culture. This variation is what gives these people their humanity, because despite the similarity of their suffering, they react differently because they are human beings with individual differences. Tarantino is masterful and respectful in the way he depicts the history of American slaves, if not entirely historically accurate.
As to the distribution of awards, I think it is not unfair that Foxx was not recognized among his peers in this particular film. This is not to say that Foxx did not perform well, but the nature of his character made it hard for him to stand out compared to Christoph Waltz (Schultz), Leonardo DiCaprio (Candie), and even Samuel L. Jackson (Stephen). I for one was shocked that DiCapprio did not receive an award, because in my opinion his performance stood head and shoulders above the rest, but I do think Waltz’s Golden Globe is much deserved because of his amazing performance. And we cannot forget Tarantino himself, who earned his Golden Globe by bringing to life another truly amazing and brilliant film.