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Licorice Pizza: Paul Thomas Anderson’s film under threat of boycott from Asian activist group

Media Action Network for Asian Americans is calling for boycott of awards for the film following racist jokes in the film

Akshay Krishna
Dec 30, 2021
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Having made movies like Boogie Nights and There Will Be Blood, Paul Thomas Anderson is a revered filmmaker. But his latest film, Licorice Pizza has now run into trouble for inclusion of racist jokes.

The Media Action Network for Asian Americans (MANAA) released a statement calling for awards bodies to boycott the movie for its repeated racist jokes. The statement, which was released last week, started getting traction following the wide release of the movie. 

“Due to the casual racism found in the movie “Licorice Pizza,” the Media Action Network for Asian Americans (MANAA) believes that Paul Thomas Anderson’s film is not deserving of nominations in the categories,” reads the statement. 

The board has pointed out the Best Picture, Best Director, or Best Original Screenplay as the categories that they feel the film must not be considered for and have asked film critic associations to give it a pass this award season. 

Scenes in the movie which include John Michael Higgins' businessman Jerry Frick and his Japanese wives, and the way the filmmaker decided to address the women in the film have come under their scrutiny.

Set in the 1970s, Licorice Pizza is a coming-of-age movie that has received good reviews and is said to be contention for many awards this season. Taking place in the San Fernando Valley, the movie follows a 15-year-old hustler and a listless 25-year-old looking for a path forward. 

The film, which stars Alana Haim, Cooper Hoffman, Sean Penn, Tom Waits, Bradley Cooper, and Benny Safdie, received three awards from the National Board of Review, including for the Best Film.

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