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The Controversy Behind "Call Me By Your Name" Explained

When “Call Me By Your Name” premiered at Sundance in 2015, it quickly distinguished itself as a major Oscar contender. The film earned rave reviews from critics and was easily the most praised film of the entire festival. Yet as the film nears its November 24th release date, it has become engulfed in controversy regarding the provocative subject matter of the film. Call Me By Your Name features actors Timothee Chalamet and Armie Hammer and focuses on a love affair between a seventeen year old teenager, and his much older thirty year old lover. The film is directed by acclaimed director Luca Guadagnino and is based on the same-titled book by Andre Aciman.

The majority of the film’s critics are across the far-right side of the political spectrum. Recently, actor James Woods took to Twitter to complained about the film and the supposed “normalization of pedophilia in society.” Call Me By Your Name star Armie Hammer took note of this, and pointed out that James Woods hypocritically dated a nineteen year old teenager when he was sixty years old. Actress Amber Tamblyn later claimed on Twitter that James Woods harassed her when she was sixteen and has a history of preying on younger women. Woods has denied these accusations. Woods is often considered to be one of the few staunch Donald Trump supporters in Hollywood.

The Oscar chances of “Call Me By Your Name” are ambiguous. The reviews for the film are fantastic, with many critics praising the performances of Chalmette and Hammer. While Chalmette and Hammer both have strong Oscar prospects, particularly Hammer, it’s unclear how the controversy will affect the movie. Moonlight’s surprise victory at the Academy Awards made it the first LGBT film to win Best Picture. It is unlikely that the Academy Awards will honor a LGBT themed film for two years in a row. The film has a strong shot in the Best Adapted Screenplay category, especially due to how weak the category is at the moment.

Other criticism of “Call Me By Your Name” comes from the director’s decision to not include full-frontal nudity in the film. Guadagnino has explained in an interview that nudity was irrelevant to the overall film. However screenwriter James Ivory has claimed that his original script contained a myriad of male nudity, and criticized Guadagnino for his artistic decision. The apparent disagreement between the director and screenwriter has not deterred overwhelming praise from critics, many of whom called the film the “movie of the year.” It is truly a fantastic time for LGBT cinema, as “Call Me By Your Name” and “Moonlight” prove.