Archives for posts with tag: oscars

In which Lindsay and James talk Oscars and end with an earnest plea: “Let’s never speak of this night again.”

Lindsay: Zzzzzzzz.

James: Lindsay! Wake up! The Oscars are over! I think you dozed off sometime after the third Melissa Leo “fuck” joke!

Lindsay: ACK, sorry James, I’m just now rousing myself from a daze induced by this year’s painfully dull telecast. Or by those brownies that James Franco dropped off at my house before the show. Either way! Well, I hardly have to ask, but how are you feeling about the show now that we’ve had a full day to reflect?

James: I feel a feeling that I haven’t felt since the anxiety nightmares I suffered during my middle school production of You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, except if my sweet and shy friend who didn’t even make the chorus was Gwenyth Paltrow, and everything gay was edited out.

It’s also similar because of all the agonizing over getting young people to come out and appreciate the performance when really we should have just focused on getting our moms to enjoy it.

Lindsay: Apt. Which I think speaks to what I saw as the night’s main theme: the harder the Oscars tried to cater to any “niche”-demographic-that’s-not-really-a-niche-demographic (young people! or women! or, to quote Anne Hathaway, “LESBIANSSSSS”!) the more they ended up looking painfully out of touch with said demographic. We can parse all of this from a feminist perspective in a moment, but first: did you also find yourself wishing midway through the show that Anne Hathaway and James Franco would magically morph into Sandra Bullock and Robert Downey Jr.? Could one of those Inception effects specialists have pulled off that kind of wizardry? Or perhaps Charlie Sheen? I hear he’s a warlock!

James: Do you have a subscription to MY MIND!?

All I was thinking while Sandy did her little Actor in a Leading Role banter was, “This would be the perfect opportunity for her to redeem herself for winning an Oscar she didn’t deserve for playing a condescending comparatively uncomplicated overprivileged white woman.” And RDJ2 with the navy suit and white on white tie/shirt combo, I was into it.

Lindsay: In a Better World, as they say.

James: I will say this of the hosting though, I fear more about the generalizations that will now be surmised about our generation from the hosts’ performances than I fear for the effect on the hosts’ careers themselves, you follow me?

Lindsay: I do. As if the Kirk Douglas set needed more fodder for their assumptions about Facebook turning our brains into oatmeal, I’m afraid that we young folk will be answering for Hathaway and Franco’s universally acknowledged faceplant for some time to come. Which leads me to bring up — as there’s no avoiding it – Franco. Is it just me, or do you find nothing at all challenging or subversive about his “performance art,” if we must call it that? And do you think the fallout from this show (and his bizarrely benign crossdressing moment) is going to finally make people stop trying to talk about him on such a conceptual level?

James: The thing is I don’t know that people really do talk about him on such a conceptual level, however, he’s more associated with that conceptual level. I mean, I was a very big fan, but recently, and I won’t pretend Sunday didn’t have a large part to do with it, I’ve become a bit tired of his high-brow attention-whore antics. Journalists like to draw attention to how, “He does it all!” But the bottom line is he does it all with a resounding mediocrity at best. He’s just hot and good at branding himself as playfully intellectual without having to do anything of substance to back up the laurels he rests on. (Though let it be known that he is really fucking hot.)

Lindsay: No one’s denying. But the reason I brought up the whole Boy Who Cried Performance Art thing is that I can imagine James Franco taking out a couple of Glamour Shots-esque “Consider” ads in Variety and everyone seeing it as some brilliant commentary on modern celebrity. But then Melissa Leo does these (admittedly totally, gloriously wacky) ads and the world is thrown for a loop. Am I wrong to smell a little gender bias here?

James: It could be that, though I’m not sure as to how much of the hoopla surrounding those ads was actually from the Academy’s reaction and how much was the media creating that reaction to heighten drama and build a narrative in a year where all of the major categories were so anticlimactic. This year, in particular, I’ve felt like I’d like the Oscars so much more if I didn’t read anything about them before. And that may seem obvious, but this illusion of a horse race driven by the media is exhausting and cheapening of the whole process.

But what I will say is between her fur-clad “Consider” ads and her Maleficent costume sprayed in gold paint and covered in doilies, Melissa Leo is America’s newest fashion it-girl!

Lindsay: Or its greatest performance artist. Melissa Leo is Banksy?

James: That would be something!

Lindsay: Well, before further grievances, let’s count the night’s small blessings. For only the third time in history, Best Foreign Language Film went to a female-directed movie: Susanne Bier’s In a Better World. (Though: in due recognition of literally the one and only subversive Oscar nomination this year, Team Dogtooth!) Also one of the producers of Inside Job was a woman. And Lora Hirschberg won for Sound Mixing, an historically male-dominated category. And, um. A woman who won an Oscar for playing a transperson shared the stage with a woman who won an Oscar for directing last year. The Oscars are really progressive, yeah?

James: Progressively irritating. It felt so clear that Hilary Swank’s grandiose introduction of Kathryn Bigelow was an extension of the pat-on-the-back the Academy is giving itself for honoring a woman with the Best Director Oscar, an extension of that unwarranted self-satisfaction and a distraction from their return to the status quo. Which, I feel it appropriate to say, is also what they were doing in having Halle Berry do the extension of the In Memoriam to Lena Horne, congratulate themselves by honoring a woman of color in film while distracting us from pointing out they honored ZERO PEOPLE OF COLOR THIS YEAR.

But, as you said, small blessings. Though it was truly devastating to watch the mesmerizing Annette Bening lose for a fourth time, I am very hopeful for the good things Portman’s new focus on production will bring to women. Between her speech at the Spirit Awards Saturday night and what she’s said in recent media profiles, I’m excited for what opportunities she will bring as a highly respected and intelligent woman in show business aware of the industry’s sexist infrastructure and interested in and proactive about working through that.

Lindsay: And I was pleased to see the Times remind us of the oft-forgotten fact that Natalie Portman can not only blind us with Rodarte, but also with SCIENCE. And I agree with you and Melissa Silverstein in noting that these overt acknowledgements of both Horne-by-way-of-Berry and Bigelow came off, in typical Oscar fashion, as weirdly self-congratulatory and only heightened the absence of black people and women in the winner’s circle. The Bigelow moment was particularly ironic, coming as it did right before the acknowledgement of this year’s five (white, male) Best Director nominees, and winner Tom Hooper’s acknowledgement of the “triangle of manlove” shared between him, Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush. But at least when Hooper thanked Helena Bonham Carter for staying out of the way of said triangle, she gave us fodder for the best gif of the night.

James: May God save that Queen! I think what The King’s Speech and the overall feel of the show taught us was that maybe the Oscars were a great year for lesbians, but they’re almost always better for kings.

Before we wrap up, we have yet to discuss the musical theatre major Adderall-head who fluttered about wearing a lot of expensive gowns. And no, I don’t mean Christian Bale.

Lindsay: Oh, Anne. While admit that I don’t understand why Hathaway seemed to be channeling Tracy Flick from Election and that at times she was downright painful to watch up there, the male/female pairing and the contrast of the hosts’ rather traditionally gendered personas make the critiques of their respective failings potentially really sexist. Already Franco’s just the brunt of a bunch of played out stoner jokes, but Hathaway’s “irritating” or “obnoxious.” Or, worse: the Times said Hathaway emphasized “the frequent industry argument that she lacks chemistry with her male co-stars.” Ouch. I’m not exactly out to defend her hosting chops, but I’d like to see a level playing field in the critique of what I thought was an equally bad job by both.

James: Well said, Lindsay. I think that overall the Academy should have learned that if you take something that is essentially old and stuffy, it’s best to just let it be that way. Trying to make yourself seem “hip and edgy,” by having younger hosts and repeating the words, “hip and edgy” will just make your viewership bored and uncomfortable, especially if you’re doing it while simultaneously awarding something like The King’s Speech, which is the furthest from edgy of all the nominees. Don’t futilely strive to look younger Oscars, Billy Crystal’s suspiciously lineless face has got that schtick covered.

Lindsay: But as a closing thought, I’ll say that given the pretty tepid crop of nominees this year, I was pleased with The King’s Speech‘s victories (though, as I’ve stated before, its problematic representation of women actually didn’t keep me from loving The Social Network too). While it was all too easy to view The King’s Speech as the preferred film of the stodgy old establishment, I found both Colin Firth’s performance and David Seidler’s script to contain some of the most quietly complex statements about masculinity in any film I saw this year. Firth’s “lefthanded/righthanded” speech can easily be read to have a subtext speaking about the dangers of perceiving identity – and gender — as a collection of binaries. And as much as I hated the phrase, I still preferred that triangle of manlove over any other bromance I saw in a theater this year.

James: Indeed. Now I can’t wait to look forward to weekend trips to the movies where I’ll watch Nic Cage kick ass in Drive Angry and then wind down by sneaking into Rango.

Lindsay: Yes, James as always it’s been a pleasure talking Oscars with you, but especially after this anticlimactic year I’m relieved to see the season come to a close. For the next couple of months at least, I think it’s time for us to make like Jean-Luc Godard and not give a shit about the Oscars at all.

James Worsdale isn’t close to being sick about talking about the Oscars but he is sick of explaining to people why he cares so much. IT’S ALL FUN AND GAMES PEOPLE! (Or is it?) He’d also like it if you followed him on Twitter.

This Sunday, the beloved Annette Bening is among the nominees for Best Actress in a Leading Role at the 83rd Academy Awards. She will be recognized for her role in The Kids Are All Right as Nic, the lush, lesbian matriarch of a family in crisis, dealing with infidelity incited by an interloper threatening the stability and well being for a unit already existing in quiet peril. Her performance in this movie, widely regarded as a milestone in progressive representationsthough not necessarily by all, is similar to her role in her also Oscar-nominated turn as Carolyn Burnham in 1999’s American Beauty: charming, saddening and disgusting us all with a marvelous subtlety and memorable harmony. Though she is expected to, again, lose, to Natalie Portman in Black Swan, Bening’s Nic joins the bevy of lesbian characters honored by the Academy with nominations and defies the derogatory tendencies tied into those characters’ psyches by their sexuality.

Through the Academy’s history, there have been six actresses nominated for playing lesbian characters, three in the leading category and three in the supporting. This is not including Bening’s most recent nomination which would make it seven:

Leading Actress:

Judi Dench as Barbara Covett in Notes on a Scandal (2006)
Charlize Theron as Aileen in Monster (2003)
Nicole Kidman as Virginia Woolf in The Hours (2002)

Supporting Actress:

Julianne Moore as Laura Brown in The Hours (2002)
Jessica Tandy as Ninny Threadgoode in Fried Green Tomatoes (1991)*
Cher as Dolly Pelliker in Silkwood (1983)

*Although in the case of this example, the characters’ sexualities are so coded that acknowledgment of the lesbian undertones in the film could be remiss to many.

Four of the six aforementioned characters (played by Dench, Theron, Kidman and Moore) fit the lesbian archetype of the woman woebegone and warped, turned wicked by her desire and her, presumably conditioned, reaction to it and its implication. Dench’s Barbara Covett perhaps most aptly embodies this offensive stereotype, sinisterly plotting to usurp her coworker Sheba Hart (Cate Blanchett…that Dench, what a cradle robber) from her marriage by manipulating information she has concerning an affair Sheba took part in with a student. Driven through this nefarious plot by her loneliness and denial, Barbara is a pitiful character who at the film’s end is implied to be rekindling this cycle of abuse. It was played wonderfully by Dame Judi Dench and, if you’re able to remove the political implications of the character itself, her performance deserved lauding and attention, but it is, at the very least, frustrating that lesbian characters honored by the Oscars are almost always negative and homophobic representations.

As a relevant side note, it is also important to acknowledge that all of these characters are white women, a bias probably more attributable to white privilege’s deeply embedded presence in the Hollywood infrastructure  than to homophobia in the black community and black cinema. As Vito Russo says in his cinematic queer manifesto originally from 1981, The Celluloid Closet:

“Homosexuals are convenient scapegoats but their shabby treatment is only the most ostentatious part of a wider problem – that the diversity of American life has never been reflected in popular films. There are virtually no black faces on the American screen, and those we see are the faces of clowns.”

Paula Patton’s role in 2009’s Precious as Blu Rain, the lesbian alternative schoolteacher who knows her way around the welfare system and how to work around its shortcomings, is the only recent black lesbian representation I can think of in a majorly released film that gained Oscar attention. Hopefully good things will come from Dee Rees’s Pariah, recently premiered at Sundance and earning accolades and attention and a distribution deal from Focus Features, centered around a black lesbian girl from Brooklyn coming of age and coming out. A new story told with sensitivity and nuance, something to look forward to.

Before Bening, the exception to this trend was in Cher’s (SWOON!) portrayal of Dolly Pelliker in Silkwood. Russo writes of Dolly:

The only major character in a mainstream film to achieve this level of casual realism in recent years was Cher’s Dolly Pelliker in Mike Nichols’ Silkwood…With its portrayal of Dolly Pelliker and her girlfriend Angela, Silkwood is the best example we have of a film that is not about lesbianism yet presents lesbian characters who are perfectly integrated into a story without condescension, explanation or self consciousness of any kind…Dolly is different but conceived as a family member, in direct contrast to the portrayal of most gays as alien to society and to the individuals around them.

It would be interesting to know how Russo would feel about Annette Bening’s Nic, a good 26 years after the book originally came out. And even if Nic is a metric of queer progressivism’s success, if her existence as a mother is necessary to the cultural acceptance of her character and is indicative of a new trend furthering the conflation of womanhood and motherhood…  but I digress.

When compiling research for this post, there was an abundance of information and analysis chronicled about gay male characters who had been honored by the Oscars but less so about lesbians. This discrepancy is probably due to more gay male characters having been written and, more paramount, having been featured in films that garnered distribution and viewership. Hollywood’s sexism is no secret and that bias infiltrates queer representations as well. This is not to say that gay male characters have fared much better fates than their lesbian counterparts. Most if not all of those representations have also been largely troubled as well. But here I’d like to focus more specifically on the issue of lesbian representations at the Oscars as to avoid losing my point by ignoring issues of intersectionality.

Why does this even matter? Aren’t the Oscars just, to quote Lindsay, “the ultimate pageant of Hollywood hegemony?” Aren’t homo award show enthusiasts generally relegated to the ranks of fashion correspondence and even then that’s only gay-male-inclusive? In many ways, yes, that is true. The Oscars are driven by capital and the problems that accompany forces capitalistically driven. But the Academy Awards do matter in their potential to serve as a vehicle for visibility, empathy, and insurance towards cultural relevance. If more lesbians’ and other queer folks’ stories are told, respected and honored, it will be easier to combat attitudes that drive institutionalized bigotry and ignorance. People make sense of their lives and the lives of others through art, including and especially movies and media. If stories aren’t told with sensitivity and accuracy then prejudiced representations of them will prevail.

The only thing James Worsdale has more Oscar reservations about than the lack of diversity in the directorial category is the potential disaster of Anne Hathaway and James Franco’s hosting chops. Oh well, at least Franco’s easy on the eyes.

On Tuesday morning Academy-Award winner Mo’nique and an old man with a New Jersey accent, who doesn’t know how to say Helena Bonham Carter’s first name, announced the 2011 Oscar nominees. There were few surprises for people who follow this sort of thing (and for people who don’t, well I guess they’re all surprises). For cynics and feminist cinephiles, like you all I’m sure, the omission of any female representation in the category of Best Director came as no surprise either.

Let’s get this out of the way: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ bestowing the honor of an Oscar nomination upon a film is a practice obviously fraught with problematic complications and is too burdened with outside interests to honestly be considered as a metric for artistic achievement. The people who make films and who act in films do it to make films, not necessarily to gain accolades (aside from, of course, the self-indulgent pop stars turned film stars).

That being said, an Oscar is a reassuring recognition that your work is appreciated by your peers and it can serve as insurance both for an individual’s career and for cultural longevity. Though the institution of the Oscars could be viewed as the culmination of capitalism, patriarchy, racism and heteronormativity’s complete consumption of, and then dictation of, artistic standards in film, this view should not lead to a complete disregard for the institution’s relevance. Rather, it should lead to a deconstruction of the institution, as it exists, to see what it indicates about the film industry as a whole and to see what we as a culture value and praise.

The issue of women in Hollywood, particularly as directors, is a dialogue that people were paying more attention to last year, with what seemed to be the phenomenon of a woman directing an apolitical war film, and a dialogue in which some people’s positions were quite brazenly (though certainly appropriately) expressed. But with only 9 percent of Hollywood directors being women, this is an issue that the industry is hardly past.

This year’s award circuit, most recently the Oscar nominations, missed out on several opportunities to award great female-centric work in film. The five titles I’m highlighting were all directed by women as well.

Fish Tank directed by Andrea Arnold

A coming of age story that centers around the aggressively brooding but clandestinely sensitive Mia in a lower class British community, director Andrea Arnold repeatedly alludes to animals and their imprisonment and adopts kitchen-sink realist themes and styles in this beautiful and sad tale. Even literary celebrity and sideshow misogynist Bret Easton Ellis liked it. Though it did win the BAFTA for best film in 2010, leading me to believe oversight from the American awards circuit had more to do with timing. But nonetheless, it was inadequately appreciated this side of the pond.

Please Give directed by Nicole Holofcener

Probably the funniest and most insightful comedy — not to sacrifice subtlety and nuance in the process — that I’ve seen this year, or, maybe ever. Nicole Holofcener’s characters are funny and flawed, LIKE REAL PEOPLE! IMAGINE! Kate’s cluelessly bourgeois good intentions, Mary’s cringe-worthy falling into a Ralph and Alice Kramden pairing affair: all of the characters are so memorable and relatable that it pains and angers me this movie did not garner more attention! Plus, Holofcener is the only director to make Jennifer Aniston palatable since, well ever. I think that warrants her a Noble Prize. She knows as well as any though, that “the world is getting less sexist, but it’s still really sexist.”

Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work directed by Ricki Stern and Anne Sundberg

Undoubtedly a feminist manifesto and undoubtedly acclaimed, this comedienne-centered documentary illustrates the raw drive behind this overcooked face, which has become so ingrained in our collective consciousness. Joan Rivers, a force and master of resilience, shows how much harder it is to maintain that force is when you’re in such a boys’ club of an industry such as comedy. The film makes the point that in show business no matter how hard you may work, no reward is greater than the opportunity to keep working. Because like all good feminists, Joan Rivers’s work is never done!

Somewhere directed by Sofia Coppola

Because I live in North Carolina, and limited releases trickle down the coast quite slowly, I have not had the opportunity to see Coppola’s most recent endeavor. But the underwhelming awards response to it is discouraging nonetheless. Hopefully her Marie Antoinette misstep will not plague her with permanent critical disregard.

Night Catches Us directed by Tanya Hamilton

This is another film that hasn’t yet gotten distribution to theaters around here, so I’m working from hearsay. This is Tanya Hamilton’s first film and it debuted at Sundance garnering great reviews. Anthony Mackie and Kerry Washington’s performances both are apparently perfect. And The Roots’ score is supposed to be exceptional. In addition to this film’s oversight potentially embodying the problems of being a new female director, it also could serve as an example of oversight of the work of people of color in film. Perhaps it serves as an indicator of how we’re comfortable seeing black people in America portrayed on the big screen in some films that receive wide distribution, while others, such as Hamilton’s, are often disregarded, even by the elite.

The 83rd Annual Oscar nominations were announced yesterday, and in spite of Kathryn Bigelow’s momentous win last year, no women were recognized in the Best Director category. Today, Lindsay wonders whether or not we should even get worked up about this.

When the Oscars pulled the ham-handed, weirdly-self-congratulatory-about-its-own-reluctant-progressivism move of bringing Barbara Streisand out to present last year’s award for Best Director, I knew it was all over. Streisand (the first and only woman to win a Best Director Golden Globe, but whom the Academy failed to nominate) was there to rip open the envelope that would propel Kathryn Bigelow into history and make her the first woman to win a Best Director Academy Award. And somehow, in that moment, I felt indifferent. As Bigelow ascended the stairs to the Oscar House Orchestra’s rendition of (yes, really) “I Am Woman,” the small pang of joy I felt was just the sudden realization that I’d won my Oscar pool.

Mostly, I was exhausted. I’d spent the better part of 2009 immersed a long term research project about female filmmakers and the problems they continue to face in Hollywood. My interest in this topic had initially been spurred by reading the rather shocking statistic that only 3 women had ever been nominated for the Best Director Oscar, and none had ever won. In my reading, I uncovered plenty of other discouraging statistics and anecdotes. Dr. Martha Lauzen’s annual Celluloid Ceiling report shows that women directed only 9% of the top 250 domestic grossing films in 2008. For me, each new bit of research was simultaneously dismaying and invigorating. I was slowly realizing that pursuing my dreams of filmmaking would involve coming up against one of the strongest glass ceilings left in American culture.

I’ve wanted to be a director since I was 17. At that time I worked on a student-run public access show, and in my spare time I schooled myself on all the budding film geek’s Great American Directors (Scorsese, Kubrick, Coppola) and the next generation of greats (PT Anderson, the Coen Brothers, Wes Anderson). As a teenager, it never once occurred to me that all of these directors were men – they were just, to me, great filmmakers. It wasn’t until I got to college that I started getting more into avant-garde film and found a few female directors to idolize as well. Agnes Varda, Maya Deren, Jane Campion and Chantal Akerman all helped me realize not only my own vision, but they also helped me to see the startling absence of female role models in my ventures as a filmmaker thus far. These were women who did not have a place in mainstream film culture (and especially not American film culture), and I admired their uncompromising drive to make films outside of that hegemonic system.

So by the end of my project, I was left questioning whether that long delayed Oscar win even mattered. If Hollywood and the Academy had excluded women’s visions for so long, why should we tailor the films we make to please them? Aren’t we better off creating smaller but more accepting spaces outside the mainstream?

That’s what was going through my head as Bigelow ascended those stairs last year. I loved The Hurt Locker and was happy about her nomination, but I couldn’t help but feel it was something of a compromise. After all, it wasn’t a film that gave a refreshingly truthful representation of women – in fact, there was only one woman in the entire film, and she was on screen for a grand total of about three minutes. Plus, the media narrative that made Bigelow the plucky underdog going up against her big, bad ex-husband James Cameron was simplistic, annoying and hard to parse from a feminist perspective: we were being fed a line that he was the bad guy, when in reality Bigelow had sought his advice on the Hurt Locker script before agreeing to direct it. By that night in February, I was sick of hearing about it all, and left with the queasy feeling that the win I’d waited so long for felt more like a necessary compromise than an groundbreaking triumph for all women.

And then she got up on that stage. A rush of tears came to my eyes, and I could hardly breathe.

I think what had hit me on such a gut level was the simple impact of seeing something – a break in a pattern that makes you realize for the first time just how prevalent the pattern had been. Up until now, I’d only seen men in tuxedos accepting an award that I – in my wildest and most self-centered flights of fancy – would have loved to win; now here was a strong, articulate, gorgeous woman in a dress. I thought of what this would have meant to me when I was 17. I thought of what this meant to the girls even younger than that, the great filmmakers of a future generation. Up until that moment, the problem of women in film was also the defining problem of feminism in the 21st century: young women are told they can do anything, but the limited images of achievement presented before them silently contradict that. The simple reality of seeing Bigelow up there was huge.

Still, though Bigelow’s win was momentous, I suspect that it will change very little about the realities of female directors in Hollywood. Yesterday’s Academy Award nominations were a harsh reminder of this: for the 79th time in history, they were all men. True, two of the ten Best Picture nominees are women (Debra Granik’s Winter’s Bone and Lisa Cholodenko’s The Kids Are All Right), but I agree with Dana Stevens’s assessment:

This is only the second year of the expanded best picture Category, with 10 spaces to fill instead of five, and it’s easy to pick out at a glance which are the “filler” pictures—movies that, worthy as they may be, don’t stand a chance of winning. They’re the ones that didn’t also get best director nominations: 127 Hours, Winter’s Bone, Toy Story 3, Inception, and The Kids Are All Right. The expansion of this category was meant to be a way to open the field to more offbeat or crowd-pleasing choices, but I wonder if the extra spots aren’t destined to become a holding pen for second-class citizens. After Kathryn Bigelow’s supremely satisfying double win for best director and best picture last year, it’s particularly disheartening to see Winter’s Bone and The Kids Are All Right, both made by women, relegated to “great film—who directed it again?” status.

And once again, I keep coming back to the eternal question: why should we care? The Oscars are ultimate pageant of Hollywood hegemony. They’re all bound up in greater issues about distribution, marketing and campaigning that rarely favor female-centric films that challenge the status quo. So really, should any of this bother us?

But during Bigelow’s acceptance speech last year, I think I finally realized that we should care. About all of it. The dream of women achieving equality in the industry means that they should infiltrate every genre of filmmaking – from mainstream blockbusters to experimental films, rom-coms to war epics – and that women will be not only the directors but the cinematographers, editors, writers and producers on these films too. A year later it’s easy to see that Bigelow’s win wasn’t the instant panacea that the media portrayed it as. But perhaps there’s a little glimmer of hope in this year’s Best Director nominees: Bigelow’s pattern-breaking female presence on that stage last year makes it that much easier to feel its absence in this year’s list. If nothing else, I hope it continues to resonate in a heightened awareness of the work that’s still left to be done before women and men in Hollywood are on equal footing.