His remarks were made at the Omaha Press Club roast of two-time Oscar winner Alexander Payne, director of Nebraska, Sideways, The Descendants, About Schmidt and other features. Payne, accused during the roast of being both obsessed with cats and becoming the most famous Nebraskan, is now the 139th face on the barroom floor of the Press Club.
On the one hand, if the white characters in Nebraska are any indication, AKSARBENT seriously doubts that a black presence in the movie would have done much for the image of African Americans.
On the other hand, it doesn't seem as if Alexander Payne has exactly bent over backwards to be inclusive in any of his films. And no, we're not suggesting that the dearth of black (or gay) characters in his work indicates a personal bias. Payne did, after all, testify in favor of the LGBT ordinance last year, doing much to counteract the widely-publicized antigay opinions of NU football coach Ron Brown.
Wrote Bob Fischbach:
Kurt Andersen, a fellow Nebraska native and host of NPR's “Studio 360,” reminded Payne he was not the Omaha Press Club's first honoree of Greek heritage. In 1972, a year before he resigned as vice president of the United States, Spiro Agnew was the club's fourth Face on the Barroom Floor.Payne joked that he cast Forte in Nebraska because “I needed an actor I was sure would not overshadow Bruce's performance.”
...Andersen complained about how a recent feature he wrote for the New York Times, about a road trip he took across Nebraska with Payne, was edited. “There's a vast conspiracy in the American press to protect Alexander Payne because they love him and his movies,” Andersen said.