This year’s Academy Awards show that diversity drives will only get us so far. Filmgoers and the industry must question what makes a film award-worthy
Congratulations to those men – I guess? Issa Rae summarised the mixed feelings of many when yet another all-male list of best director Oscar nominations was announced yesterday. It’s possible to note – entirely without snide – that it has been a bumper year for films about men by men. The frontrunners – Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, Sam Mendes’ 1917, and even Todd Phillips’ Joker – provided plentiful and pertinent insights into male power, male ego and male fallibility. But what about the rest of us?
We must content ourselves with Little Women, the lone female-directed film on the best picture list, for, as Aunt March would counsel, that is our lot in life. After decades of being mischaracterised as a cosy tale about sweet-natured sisters and their domestic trifles, Louisa May Alcott’s sardonically titled Little Women finally has a faithful adaptation. Under Greta Gerwig’s passionate direction, it rages righteously about the patriarchy’s narrow definition of artistic merit – amusingly embodied by Tracy Letts’ belittling publisher, Dashwood – and how it works to crush female creativity. How apt.