It’s that time of year again. Oscar season. Well, technically it’s been that time of year for a while but the beginning of February seems to be the time when awards season reaches a fever pitch. The Golden Globes, the Producers and Screen Actors Guild awards have been handed out and now it’s on to the Oscars (if you don’t count the Directors Guild Awards.) 2014 was a mixed bag (as so many recent years have been) for women in film. On one hand you have very strong performances from women in female-centric films like Julianne Moore in Still Alice and Reese Witherspoon in Wild. Patricia Arquette played a strong single parent in Boyhood, at times overshadowing the titular plot about a boy growing up. The president of the Academy since 2013, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, is a woman of color. On the other, a vast majority of films continue to be directed and financed by men. The Academy nominated 5 (admittedly talented) men for the Best Director award famously causing controversy in their snub of Ava Duvernay, the director of the excellent Selma, which included prominently-featured portrayals of both Coretta Scott King and Diane Nash alongside David Oyelowo’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Only two of this year’s best picture nominees pass the Bechdel Test (we’ll talk more about what that is in a subsequent post.)
At CBE this month we’re using the Oscars to talk about women in the media. We’ll have posts about specific films, like Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, and we’ll recap the Oscars after the results are in. We’ll look at how we analyze whether a film plays into patriarchy or breaks from it (the aforementioned Bechdel Test) and develop a Christian lens through which we can analyze media. And we’ll look at some of the women who are breaking norms as power players in Hollywood and the entertainment industry. Media is an important part of our society as it influences what we perceive as true. And when that truth is missing the voices of half the population that presents a problem, both in terms of the well-being of our society and our Christian mission of building the kingdom of God. So that will be our focus in February: analyzing, critiquing and celebrating our society’s prevailing narrative: our media.
Photo courtesy of Flickr user Red Carpet Report on Mingle Media TV.