copper-bottomed bitch · popular culture · role models

Women in the Other Academy

First, an apology to Erin’s fans, since it’s Monday and this is Heather writing. We switched days so that I could rant rave write about women in that other academy, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science, aka the Oscars.

Yeah, that’s right, there were some women this year, though you’d be forgiven for feeling skeptical. Even in the Year of the Maimed Man  – “best pictures” showed a man without an eye, a man without a hand, a man without a voice, a man with a crack addiction, and a man who’s dead for the entire movie (still feeling battered by that recession, boys?) – it was hard to find the women. But they were there, mostly standing right by their men.

So here’s a few feminist awards that didn’t get handed out last night. Oh, I should say that there are no spoilers for Rabbit Hole or Blue Valentine since I didn’t manage to see them. Everything else is liberally referenced in what follows, though. You have been warned.

The GOOD WIFE award: Amy Adams in The Fighter. No, Helena Bonham Carter in The King’s Speech. No, America Ferrera in How to Train Your Dragon. No, maybe Mrs Potato Head – or Barbie – or Jessie (the cowgirl to Tom Hanks’s Woody – yeah, you read that right) in Toy Story 3? Wait, wait, what am I thinking: the award goes to Julianne Moore, hands down (hands down Mark Ruffalo’s pants, that is).

REAL WIFE moment: When Gary Rizzo (Inception) accepted the sound mixing award for himself, Ed Novick and Lora Hirschberg, he thanked “our wives,” and named three women. So if you were thinking Hirschberg looked a little butch for her gown….

For HEAVY-HANDED METAPHOR: the black swan. C’mon, a psychotic ballerina? That didn’t strike anybody on the writing team as redundant?

Best INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY DRAMA: Forget what you learned in Women’s Studies 101, and ditch the creative commons, too. In 2010 the movies argued that an idea is a form of personal property. Given a choice between The Social Network (you took my idea!) and Inception (you took my idea!), I’m gonna have to go with Exit Through the Gift Shop in this category.

MOST ENIGMATIC BOY NAMES: 1) Woody; 2) Dicky; 3) Rooster; 4) LaBoeuf (hint: it’s French).

EMPLOYER OF THE YEAR: the New York ballet. Dude, maybe a little less sexual harassment and a little more clozapine?

DUMBEST BLONDE:  So many contenders. Will the award go to Megan and Kristie in 127 Hours (“We can’t read our map!”)? Girl at Phoenix Club in The Social Network (“You have a big brain!”)? Nina-Pretty-Ballerina in Black Swan (“You have a big ego!”)? Careful, though. This is a trick category, ’cause none of the girls are actually blonde!

BEST ACTION: Who doesn’t like seeing Natalie Portman get off? But unless you count the birds and the bees in I Am Love, which you probably should given how …. long …. that scene was, that’s about it for sex in the big nominees this year. (Weird, given how big the familes are.) Silver lining: for the most part this year women characters were not subject to sexual violence. Even in the scenes where you thought you saw it coming – Pope and Nicky in Animal Kingdom, Rooster watching Mattie sleep in True Grit, every scene for the first 90 minutes of Winter’s Bone – the threat, so to speak, petered out.

For TRUE GRIT, a concept we feminists ought to appropriate (thanks, Mary Churchill!), Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld) is the obvious choice, and I wouldn’t want to be on the wrong side of Alice Ward (Melissa Leo) or the Ward sisters, but I vote for Ree (Jennifer Lawrence) and all her relations, especially Connie (with or without the chainsaw). Hey, Winter’s Bone women, I got some folks you can put the hurt on.

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT OF THE EVENING: I Am Love should have won for costumes. Tilda Swinton was so stunning in those sheath dresses, carrying her five-thousand-dollar handbags, that I almost didn’t want her to get undressed. Anybody know where I can pick up some paprika cigarette pants and a pale blue shirt? I feel the need for consolation.

4 thoughts on “Women in the Other Academy

  1. love love love it – great way to wake up and come back from the disappointment of black swan (wtf?!) – you know times are tough when this is our role model. – Mary


  2. How they could pick a ballerina for Best Actress rather than the totally kick-ass, taking-care-of-business and not-taking-shit-off-anyone portrayal Jennifer Lawrence put forth in Winter's Bone is beyond me. Especially for such a young actress, her performance was phenomenal.

    I'm totally with you about Tilda Swinton. Swinton makes me swoon. And while I probably shouldn't start the whole debate about whether or not feminists can objectify other women's bodies, that long love scene could have kept going and going as long as it included more shots of her and fewer shots of the bees!


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