Films / Women and Gender

The 2012 Oscar Nominations…A Sea of White Dudes

I love The Oscars. I eagerly wait all year for this cinema extravaganza. Well, the Oscar nominations were announced yesterday. And of course peeps are already debating the noms and snubs.

And I’m pissed off. The American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) overlooked too many amazing women on-screen and behind the camera. Although I suppose this shouldn’t surprise me…it happens every year.

I’m pissed the Oscars snubbed:

  • Pariah – Best Picture
  • Young Adult – Best Picture
  • Meek’s Cutoff – Best Picture
  • Adepero Oduye (Pariah) – Best Actress
  • Tilda Swinton (We Need to Talk About Kevin) – Best Actress
  • Charlize Theron (Young Adult) – Best Actress
  • Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids) – Best Actress *a long-shot but Wiig was outstanding
  • Pernell Walker (Pariah) – Best Supporting Actress
  • Kim Wayans (Pariah) – Best Supporting Actress
  • Dee Rees (Pariah) – Best Director
  • Diablo Cody (Young Adult) – Best Original Screenplay
  • Dee Rees (Pariah) – Best Original Screenplay

It’s interesting (and unfortunate) Young Adult and its protagonist, Charlize Theron, were snubbed as it features a vile yet vulnerable female character. And Hollywood doesn’t like unlikeable women in their movies. Besides The Help, no other films with female leads was nominated for Best Picture. It speaks volumes that Pariah, a brave, beautiful and touching film with lesbian women of color, should have been nominated for absolutely everything. Yet it didn’t receive a single fucking nomination. But The Help did. I call bullshit.

Here’s Cannonball‘s astute take on 5 Female-Directed Films That Deserved Oscar Nominations.

But I’m thrilled these actors and writers received nominations:

  • Annie Mumolo & Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids) – Best Original Screenplay
  • *Viola Davis (The Help) – Best Actress
  • Rooney Mara (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) – Best Actress
  • Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids) – Best Supporting Actress
  • *Octavia Spencer (The Help) – Best Supporting Actress

*It’s wonderful Davis and Spencer were nominated. Too bad it’s for The Help. Ugh. I wish that movie hadn’t been nominated for anything. Dear Hollywood, nominating actors and a movie for Best Film where a white woman “saves” or speaks for black women is not progressive. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Having lots of women in a film doesn’t inoculate it from racism.

As Her Film points out, the only women nominated in fields other than the ones designated for them (Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress) are:

  • Kathleen Kennedy, Producer (War Horse) – Best Picture
  • Bridget O’Connor, Co-Writer (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) – Best Adapted Screenplay
  • Agnieszka Holland, Director (In Darkness) – Best Foreign Language Film
  • Jennifer Yuh Nelson, Director (Kung Fu Panda 2) – Best Animated Feature Film

The Oscars are a white male bonanza. In 84 years, only 4 women (!!!) have ever been nominated for a Best Director Oscar. Only one, Kathryn Bigelow, ever won. In producing, only 7 women have won the Best Picture award, all as co-producers with men. Only 15 women have won Best Screenplay (7 women for Adapted Screenplay with 1 woman winning twice, 8 women for Original Screenplay). Only 4 women of color have been nominated as screenwriters. No women of color have ever been nominated as a producer or director. These stats are shameful.

The Oscar nominations are pretty much a sea of white dudes. So once again, I’ll be posting The Opinioness of the World’s Annual Feminist Oscars. Stay tuned for those nominations!

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3 thoughts on “The 2012 Oscar Nominations…A Sea of White Dudes

  1. Have you actually seen “The Help,” or are you simply recycling the same old overused, but false, observation everyone seems to make, regarding this film?

    I never got the impression that “Skeeter” was saving these women, or speaking for them.
    I think these women helped (pardon the pun) each other, and by sharing their stories & crossing the
    boundaries of color, and most importantly, working together.
    I’m sorry, but the story happens to take place during the dawn of the civil rights movement,
    and yes, it was a very racist & volatile enviornment.
    This is how it was, unfortunately.
    The film isn’t stepping away from that, but telling it’s story from that period.
    Just because two fine African American actresses were portrayed as maids, does not
    make their characters any less essential or endearing.
    These aren’t subserviant women, but women with voices all their own.
    “Skeeter” didn’t rescue them with her book, just illuminated their personal stories.

  2. I do agree, though, that the Academy, as always, played it safe.
    Spielberg?
    Check.
    Scorcese (no matter if it’s a throwaway, indulgent kid’s film)
    Check.

    Where the hell was “Shame” or “Young Adult?”
    Those are brilliant, though uncomfortable films, that should
    have been recognized.

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