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Oscars 2011: What You Missed

This year, for the first time, in a long time, there wasn’t a drought of women-made-movies. Women created some of the most beautiful, provocative and complex films in theaters in 2011.

  1. Pariah, Written and Directed by Dee Rees
  2. We Need to Talk About Kevin, Co-Written and Directed by Lynne Ramsay
  3. The Whistleblower, Directed by Larysa Kondracki
  4. Higher Ground, Directed by Vera Farmiga
  5. In the Land of Blood and Honey, Written and Directed by Angelina Jolie
  6. Circumstance, Written and Directed by Maryam Keshavarz
  7. I Will Follow, Written and Directed by Ava Duvernay
  8. Meek’s Cutoff, Directed by Kelly Reichardt
  9. The Future, Written and Directed by Miranda July

Maybe you didn’t hear about them? You won’t this weekend, either as The Oscars, “the world’s preeminent movie-related organization” honors “the most accomplished men and women working in cinema”.

My colleague Melissa Silverstein and I made a video over at Women And Hollywood that compiles all the female-directed films not nominated in an effort to highlight women’s work and shed light on part of the problem: the voting population of the Academy.

  • 94% white.
  • 77% male.
  • 62 is the average age.

We’ve moved beyond the issue of ‘not enough women making work.’

This frat club has $196 million in assets and doles out $20 million in grants, scholarships and film festival support annually. Their biggest income generator to support filmmakers is the Academy Awards where, according to their last tax filing, they made $81 million dollars in revenue. It’s a powerful club that doesn’t represent the movie-going public.

As a result, it’s important to honor prominent female directors here in an effort to encourage more women to write and direct their own work, open the conversation about women-made narratives and shed light on who decides what narratives get honored and why and how that affects our popular culture.

So on Sunday night, women will be at the forefront of the Oscars. But not for their work; for their dress. Keep these women-made movies in mind as you watch the plethora of men accept their awards on behalf of other white men.

ps. When the LA Times released the stats on the Academy’s voting population this week it reminded me of this image of witnesses testifying on the birth control benefit on Capitol Hill. Note: not one uterus present.

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