Why Harsh Critics?

I am one of those who applauded Graham Moore for his moving and courageous acceptance speech when he won his Imitation Game Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. So, as a psychologist, when I read the critiques, I had to stop and think: Why? Why pick on things like – he isn’t gay? He used the word weird to describe his experience and that of others? That most people won’t be standing on that stage in their lifetimes? This happens for various psychological reasons. Sometimes old personal hurts, like feeling unheard and marginalized, get stirred up – and it’s easy to lash out. Other times it’s jealousy. Someone else’s success is a reminder of what seems so sorely difficult to get.

Some do have harder roads than others. They deserve sensitivity and attention. Yet, Graham Moore is who he is. He used his time in the spotlight to speak out for something he knows and overcame. 90 seconds can’t accomplish everything. Let’s focus on the fact that he put himself aside in front of 36.6 million people and talked about one of the most painful times of his life to help others who feel similarly. If Graham Moore encouraged even one person on the brink of giving up – whatever race or sexual orientation or brand of psychological pain – isn’t that really what it’s all about? Why take any risk of making him feel like the weird kid again?

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Dr. Sandra E. Cohen

I’m Dr. Sandra Cohen, a psychologist and psychoanalyst in private practice in Beverly Hills, CA. I work with creatives in therapy, story/character development, and entertainment consulting. If you are a writer, actor, or director and want help with a character – or a chance to do some of your own personal work - call at 310.273.4827 or email me at to schedule a confidential discussion to explore working together.