Musings over the nominations from a female perspective
With the exception of the actress categories dedicated to women, most of the Academy Awards this year will be awarded to men, particularly the classes that are considered important, such as the best director.
Women and Hollywood has made a list over all the female nominees. The vast majority of them are involved in categories that are considered “less important”, such as costume design, production design and make-up.
The Bigelow non nomination
If you like me wish that there were more women working in the film industry, it’s inevitable that you feel pessimistic and disappointed at a first glance. I haven’t seen Kathryn Bigelow’s latest film Zero Dark Thirty, so I can’t say if it’s fair or that she didn’t get a nomination for the direction of it, but nevertheless I’m a little disappointed. I think it’s a big deal and makes a difference when there are women among the nominated directors. It’s only when girls see that women can work and be successful as directors that they start to dream and plan to become one when they grow up.
This doesn’t mean that I suggest that the academy should appoint members using a quota system. Of course the directors that did the best job should be nominated, regardless if they’re men or women. Anything else is hurtful in the long run. The lack of women among the nominated is directed to the lack of women in the film industry. Looking at my own top list over 2012, I have a film made by a female director as my number one, We Need to Talk about Kevin (which is considered a 2011 movie and couldn’t be nominated for an award this year). I also have Wuthering Heights, Take this Waltz, Hysteria, Brave, Tomboy, Your Sister’s Sister and the Swedish documentaries Palme and For You Naked on my list. Counting, this is 9 films out of 55 or 16%. that are directed by women, a proportion that I hope will change in the years to come, even though it doesn’t go as quickly as I wish.
The lack of women needs to be addressed, but picking women over men for awards because of their gender is not the way to do it. So while it’s sad that Bigelow didn’t get a nomination, I address it and trust on that the academy knew what they were doing.
The film producers
But let’s leave the sulking for a moment and look what positive things there are about the nominations this year, from a female standpoint.
The “best picture” category actually offers a decent amount of women. This award is given to the film producers and five of the nine nominated films have at least one female producer in the team according to the list at Women and Hollywood. While producers aren’t talked about, they’re pretty important, powerful people, as far as I understand it. The director may be a man, but it’s as in the saying: behind every successful man is a woman.
Secondly there is a female director nominated for a full length film: in the category for best animated feature film we find Brenda Chapman, one of the two directors of Brave, which I think is a film that is a big step forward from a gender perspective compared to the Disney princesses we’ve experienced previously.
Thirdly there are a lot of women that are nominated in all of the short film categories, mostly the documentary, but also the animated and live action. Like with the feature films, the majority of the women work as producers, but there’s at least one female director in the lot. I admit that those categories aren’t as prestigious; they’re usually mentioned ever so quickly and without much ado at the Oscar award night. But it’s better than nothing.
A final note: I was really happy to see the nomination in the category for best actress with the age span from 9 to 85. It shows that it’s possible to make movies about other women than those that are 18-25 years old and sexy.