Movies Movies Movies: Sia’s ‘Music’ and intention vs. impact

February 12th 2021
Image courtesy of Merrick Morton/Hanway Films

In old news that is now new news, Sia’s film Music is facing backlash for nabbing two Golden Globe nominations in the categories of Best Musical or Comedy, and Best Supporting Actress.

Adelaide’s pop-matriarch Sia has been slacklining on coals since last November when her directorial debut Music released a trailer featuring actor/dancer Maddie Ziegler – a neurotypical performer – mimicking a person with autism.

Music was a project Sia had been crafting for over a decade, based on an encounter with an autistic individual the singer met during an AA meeting. In the film ‘Music’ is a non-verbal teenager living with disability who loses her grandmother and primary carer, forcing her estranged sister Zu – played by Kate Hudson – back into her life.


Stoking the fire of drama-versy, Sia has defended the film’s casting choice, claimed she’s ‘lovingly representing the community’, and struggled to cast someone with the lived experience of autism in the lead role.

Against lukewarm reviews and several op-eds debasing Sia’s disability advocacy, her directorial debut Music has been nominated for two Golden Globe Awards (including one for Best Musical or Comedy). Despite widespread backlash towards the film’s casting, a petition to cancel the film’s release, and multiple Twitter blunders, the film is in competition with Hamilton, Borat Subsequent MoviefilmThe Prom, and Palm Springs. The nominations resulted in a final apology-tweet from Sia before deleting her account.

Classic to most award shows, this section of the Globes is marred by previous controversial winners. The last two awards for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy were criticised for perpetuating queer erasure, misrepresenting Black history, inauthentic casting, glorifying misogynistic violence, and – in our opinion – for being way too long. Kate Hudson emerges unscathed and is up for an award for her supporting role as Music’s sister-carer.

In a special episode of Movies Movies Movies, we spoke with both Sia and Bus Stop Films disability in film advocates Genevieve Clay-Smith and Emily Dash to get ‘Two Takes’ on the film that’s on the tip of everyone’s thumbs. Listen in full below.

The Golden Globes ceremony is set for February 28th 2021.

Tune in to Movies Movies Movies every Monday on Mornings with Maia Bilyk or on your chosen podcast platform for all the cinema discourse.


Read more from The Filmlordes