Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

Cross Post: The State of the Race: Will There be a Hillary Effect on the Oscar Race?

by Sasha Stone
September 30, 2013 12:00 PM
1 Comment
  • |

So what would it mean if a woman became president? Even if it wouldn't necessarily mean more female writer/directors, could it possibly mean that more stories about woman would become interesting, or (gasp) cool again? Last year's Oscar race had only two stories about women: Zero Dark Thirty and Beasts of the Southern Wild (about a young girl).

Going back ten years we can see there are far more films that feature stories about women than there are stories about any people of color. Even still, you're really looking at a 90% vs. 10% share here.

2012 2/9:
Zero Dark Thirty, Beasts of the Southern Wild

2011 1/9:
The Help

2010 3/10
Winter's Bone, The Kids are All Right, 
Black Swan

2009 3/10
The Blind Side, An Education, Precious

2008 1/5:The Reader

2007 1/5: Juno

2006 2/5: Little Miss Sunshine, The Queen

2005 1/5: None but maybe Crash

2004 1/5:
Million Dollar Baby

2003 1/5: Lost in Translation

While many of these characters are heroic, only a few of them are on Hillary Clinton's level. That sort of power is more comfortably given over to their male counterparts, at least where the Best Picture race is concerned. The Queen and Zero Dark Thirty are two notable exceptions. Otherwise, they aren't exactly powerful women being portrayed because these films necessarily reflect the culture. But what might happen if the power dynamic shifts even a little bit?

If an impossibility like that were to occur, what kind of impact would it have on the film industry, if any? No one would have guessed the Obama effect might materialize. It's quite possible these same films would still be made. But what can't be denied is the kind of old scabs Obama's presidency has picked -- racism is a hot topic again, in government, on Twitter and in pop culture. Why else would Lee Daniels have been inspired and enabled to make what is the best movie on the Civil Rights era to date?

The days of Jane Fonda, Faye Dunaway, Sally Field and Ellen Burstyn ruling the box office and Hollywood are over. In their place are much younger women who seem to get younger every year, their roles more spare. Sandra Bullock talked about this during the press conference for Gravity. She said she noticed something significant had changed since her career began. She looked around and she concluded that movies with women in the lead simply weren't being made anymore. It was a terrifying epiphany.

Still, I can't help but wonder what might happen if this country went through yet another transformative election. Will Hollywood execs start to look around and realize that their films aren't reflecting reality anymore? Will women become more empowered and thus speak up more often when all they're served at the dinner table is fantasy porn? Will that empowerment cause more resistance, as Obama's presidency has? Will writers and directors start inventing strong women in cinema again? Will critics find a cool enough female filmmaker to build a myth around -- or to see it from their perspective, will women start to make movies that are deserving of their approval?

I don't know what Hillary Clinton's presence as a world leader would do to change the minds of the five white guys in suits who run the Hollywood studios. 2016 is three years away with nothing but empty spaces that need to be filled everywhere you look. The American people voted Obama in. Twice. Hollywood had to catch up. But that won't stop me from imagining what a woman in the White House might do, if, for no other reason, it would give some hope to the young girls growing up who until now have only known the bleak landscape of role models Hollywood offers up.


Sasha Stone is the founder of Awards Daily.

Republished with permission.

Free Indie Movies and Documentaries    

1 Comment

  • Carrie | September 30, 2013 8:44 PMReply

    I think more women simply need to talk about film. I have rarely found women who discuss films, music or even fine art. It seems to be mostly male voices that I hear or read. Are men more drawn to critiquing than women? Are media companies discriminating against women critics? Are women more comfortable with consuming than creating? Without more women in media creating a groundswell of buzz, I can see it being hard for women-centric films to be serious Oscar contenders.

    I see how men's stories also dominate our History, Math, Science Government and Literature classes, too. It starts when we are girls, not hearing stories about ourselves. It's so infuriating that so much History is basically about war. We have to memorize dates of battles, dates of truces, names of generals, etc. But History should be taught as the progress, culture and change of communities. Where we came from. Where we are going.

Email Updates

Most "Liked"

  • Emma Stone to Make Broadway Debut in ...
  • 'To Be Takei' Director Jennifer Kroot ...
  • Nicole Holofcener Announces Follow-Up ...
  • Trailer Watch: Studio Ghibli's Eerily ...
  • Elisabeth Moss and Michelle Dockery ...
  • AFI Expands Directing Workshop for Women ...
  • Sandra Bullock to Star in and Produce ...
  • "If I Stay"Weekly Update for August 22 & 29: Women ...
  • America Ferrara to Host Latino Documentary ...
  • 'Masters of Sex' Renewed for Third ...