This morning, the nominees for the 84th annual Academy Awards were announced. And this morning, as has happened every Oscar nominee morning for the past 83 years, the roster of hopefuls is filled with white dudes.
I'm not saying that Hugo wasn't a fun movie, or that Moneyball didn't make me temporarily find baseball mildly interesting, but if we were picking fantasy teams in the White Male Academy Awards Playoffs™, I'd want Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, and Woody Allen as my starting five every year for a reason (the reason is that they get nominated ALL THE TIME).
This photo is from a previous awards show but it doesn't matter. It could be from any awards show ever.
Given the Academy's history of celebrating white guys who are already over-celebrated every time they turn around, this year's nominations come as no real surprise. However, in a year that brought us Adepero Oduye in Pariah, SWINTON in We Need to Talk About Kevin, and countless other show-stopping performances by women and people of color in films made by women and people of color, it would be nice if at least ONE film out of the now NINE nominees for Best Picture broke the white male Hollywood mold a little (see also: the Best Director nominations). Is that too much to ask?
Yep, same thing goes for this one.
On the bright side, at least the woman-directed Kung Fu Panda 2 was nominated (congratulations Jennifer Yuh!) but come on. It's Kung Fu Panda 2. Even in the Animated Feature Film category that appears to contain every animated feature film of 2011, it's not exactly a frontrunner. Woman-directed films were also nominated in the Animated Short Film category (Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby), the Foreign Language category (Agnieszka Holland), and the Documentary Short category (Lucy Walker and Kira Carstensen, Rebecca Cammisa and Julie Anderson, Robin Fryday and Gail Colgin). Good luck to those ladies, but they are still in the vast minority of nominees, especially in the major categories.
Aside from a few nominees that I'm personally psyched about (here's lookin' at you, Melissa McCarthy!) I don't see many entries on the short list for feminists to champion. Come February 26, I predict another Oscars night spent drinking too much wine and booing at the bad Billy Crystal puns and the 84-year old Industry Boys Club. Which, you know, is business as usual, but it would be nice if the Academy would give us movie-lovin' feminists something to cheer for every once in a while. (GO KUNG FU PANDA 2!!!)
Which feminist films did you see in 2011 that deserved Oscar nods?