With the 2016 Academy Awards over, there’s a lot of buzz going around the Internet. There’s a lot to talk about though: from the obvious for who won or didn’t win, to the big subject of why the #OscarsSoWhite. And while those are great subjects to discuss, I want to shine a focus on the women of the 2016 Oscars.
Historically, women have not gotten a lot of recognition for their achievements, especially in cinema. And with the Oscars, women are never nearly as recognized for their movie involvement as they should be. Women on the red carpet seem to only be seen for their dresses or their supporting roles to men, not for their individual successes. And this is so upsetting to see happen.
And while we’re still a ways away from giving women their equal due, the 2016 Oscars saw a great step forward. The Oscars this year saw 8 women win an award. While two of those are the obligatory actress nominations, this is still a great year for women in cinema and something that I was glad to see.
Sara Bennett took home an Oscar for her visual effects work on Ex Machina. And in fact, this marks the first time a woman supervisor in VFX won an Oscar. Progress like this is something I love to see happen in our society.
Fury Road actually gave way to many a women to win at the Oscars. First of all, Fury Road is a female-driven story (pun intended) and a strong, socially connected story at that. Fury Road saw Lisa Thompson win for Best Production Design, Jenny Beavan win Best Costume Design, and Margaret Sixel win for Best Editing. It was amazing to see that Fury Road made so many women important to the film. It gave these women great opportunities to win.
And while there were only 8 women who won Oscars, women still had a larger role this year. Stories about women, like Mad Max: Fury Road, came to the forefronts this year. These were strong, gripping stories. Stories about sexual assault and rape, empowerment, child struggles, and more.
Brie Larson won Best Actress for her role in Room: a story about a woman and her son living a captive life because of a kidnapper. Inside Out won Best Animated Film, whose protagonist is an 11 year old girl going through depression (and other emotional journeys).
The Oscars also recognized documentaries about women: Amy, a biography of the late Amy Winehouse, and A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness. Not to mention sexual assault coming under the spotlight as Vice President Joe Biden came out to introduce Lady Gaga. During performance, Gaga brought out both male and female survivors of sexual assault.
While it did not win, Carol, a film about a lesbian romance, was nominated for Best Cinematography. Brooklyn, another movie starring a female protagonist, also did not win but was nominated for Best Picture.
This is a great step forward for the women in cinema, and hopefully a trend we see more of. I was happy to see that women were getting more focus in something so staggeringly male. This was a great year for women in the Oscars.
Women have a big part in cinema and they deserve to see this kind of recognition. And while the Academy Awards still have a long way to go before being equal for all, seeing so many women in the limelight is a glimmer of hope for us.
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