Oscar Blues (2014)

So now it’s official: Yet again, I am singing the Oscar Blues 🙁

MrSmugFolks, the impact of women filmmakers on the 2014 Oscars is at its lowest level in five years.

Let’s start with the numbers:

This year, 2014, no women directors were nominated for Best Director, no films directed by a woman filmmaker were nominated for Best Picture, no actors or actresses who appeared in a film directed by a woman were nominated in any of the acting categories (Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor & Best Supporting Actress), and no screenplays filmed by a woman director were nominated in either the Best Adapted Screenplay or Best Original Screenplay categories. Since the new century began in the year 2000, this is only the 4th time women directors have been completely shut-out in all major categories.

This year, 2014, the good news–such as it is–is that two women did receive screenplay nominations: Julie Delpy was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay for Before Midnight, & Melissa Wallack was nominated for Best Original Screenplay for Dallas Buyers Club. Because Dallas Buyers Club was also nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor, & Best Supporting Actor, this put the total Oscar Impact for 2014 at 11.4% (5/44).


Click here to download Oscar Impact Chart –> 2014OscarChart


I am thrilled for Julie Delpy. This is the second time she has been nominated in the Best Adapted Screenplay category for her work on the “Before Trilogy” (along with co-star Ethan Hawk & writer/directed Richard Linklater who were also nominated in 2005 for their Before Sunset screenplay). I frankly wasn’t too fond of Before Sunset, but I thought  Before Midnight, as the culmination of the “Before Trilogy” was masterful, leading me to re-evaluate all three parts. For me, it was definitely one of the best films of 2013.

I’m not so thrilled about all the nominations for Dallas Buyers Club. I didn’t think it was a very good film, & I find it discouraging that a woman is nominated for co-writing a film that has virtually no women in it.

(Yes, I know, Jennifer Garner is in the Dallas Buyers Club cast, but her main function is “trailer bait;” she was used to imply a relationship that never materialized in the actual film itself. If they producers hadn’t wanted that “beautiful woman” restaurant scene for promotion purposes, her part might easily have been played by a man. She had no back story, we never got to know anything significant about her character, & she played no essential role in the drama itself.)

But Rich hasn’t seen Dallas Buyers Club yet, so I plan to go back with him. Maybe if I see it a second time, I will like it better… maybe…

Meanwhile, I find it chilling that Melissa Wallack was beaten to a pulp for her last screenplay–the giddy delicious Mirror Mirror confection–which I saw in a theatre full of girls (& their Moms) who just loved it.

As I said the last time I sang my Oscar Blues: “Films by women have a greater chance of success if they are about men.” And that’s my sad commentary about the state of our world in 2014 🙁


Q: Why do I think Oscar is blue?

We all want to believe that Oscar is “gold” (that is, based on merit), so we begin with that assumption.

But close examination of the Oscar-nomination process reveals that Oscar is in fact “blue” (that is, heavily dependent on male filters).

Therefore most films by &/or about women are eliminated from contention early on, and they very rarely reach the finalist stage.

Why does this happen, consistently, year-after-year? It happens because most film critics are men, therefore men are disproportionately represented on film festival juries and in film critic circles.

With the exception of SAG (the Screen Actors Guild), men are also disproportionately represented in major guilds such as the DGA (the Directors Guild of America), the WGA (the Writers Guild of America) and the PGA (the Producers Guild of America).

Do I think this is conscious or deliberate on the part of male film critics and male guild members? No. I think it’s “second nature.” They like what they like, they consider their own views “the norm,” and they don’t really consider the idea that their own views might be biased… And so it has been & so it goes & so it continues to go…

Credits: The original idea for the “Oscar Impact Chart” came from Alexandra Poolos of Women’s eNews & I’ve been carrying it forward ever since: http://www.films42.com/feature/2005-FeatherAward.asp

Credit for creating the “Blue Oscar” graphic goes to fabulous Sharon Rosenzweig.

Note that I am responsible for the “Blue Oscar” concept & I am completely responsible for the content of my charts, so if you see any errors, please, please let me know ASAP: jan_huttner at msn dot com!!!

Tags: Blue Oscar, Oscar Blues, Oscar nominations; female directors; female screenwriters; Dallas Buyers Club; Before Midnight; Julie Delpy; Melissa Wallack; Blue Oscar, Stop Blue Oscar

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