By Melissa Silverstein | Women and Hollywood February 28, 2012 at 12:00PM
Here's my thing about the Oscars. There were women everywhere. We can't stop talking about the great dresses. Women were also there as great presenters (like the crew from Bridesmaids and Emma Stone) YET at the same time it felt like there were no women there. Because really, hardly any women won anything significant on Sunday night.
I took another look at the Oscars yesterday. The show sucked. Let's face it. The Oscars are another part of the film film industry that takes us ladies for granted. One moment that bothered me was that the only time I saw Agnieszka Holland the Polish director of In Darkness was in a shot of Billy Crystal because she was sitting next to him. Why didn't they name the directors or at least show their pictures in the best foreign film category? When A Separation won the award the director was the one who got up there. All those directors hould have been acknowledged. Last year we got to see Susanne Bier get up for her win. This year nada.
Watching the show I noticed that 1 hour into the show only 2 women had won awards, the set decorator Francesca Lo Schiavo for Hugo and Octavia Spencer -- pathetic.
90 minutes still just the 2 women have been on the stage as winners.
2 hours - two women.
Finally at 2:10 Terry George and his daughter Oorlagh George win for The Shore in the Live Action Short category and then Daniel Junge and Sharemeen Obaid-Chinoy win for Saving Face (documentary short). I also took note that both men who won took to the mic first. Sharmeen gave a great speech and dedicated her Oscar to all the women in Pakistan. She told the women not give up on your dreams.
But it was not all bad and I give my highpoint moment to the standing ovation for Octavia Spencer and her speech. I cried. This is a woman who was toiling in relative Hollywood obscurity. We really didn't know who she was. That will never be the case again.
I also really was into the Ellen Degeneres' JCP commercials. They were kind of retro but totally grew on me. You can watch them here.
But, there were many more hard moments to digest and one of them was Meryl Streep beating Viola Davis. If you read this blog you know that I love Meryl Streep and I thought she was great in The Iron Lady, and it kind of pains me to say this but I really, really wanted Viola Davis to win.
I wanted her to win because she has had such a diverse career and she is good in everything. I wanted her to win because even with all the flack she was getting from so many people about playing a maid in The Help she was still most articulate woman about why she took the part and why she didn't feel demeaned by it. I wanted her to win because I think that the industry is ok with letting women of color win for supporting roles, but has many issues with them being the leads. I wanted her to win because she is a great role model and knows that she needs to be one and takes that responsibility very seriously.
My overall thoughts from the evening is that we need girls and boys to see women on that stage not just as actors; we need them to see women directors and cinematographers and editors and writers all the other jobs. Because relaly most people pay attention to the movie business just one night a year and on this night it looks all the people who do all the cool jobs were men. We need people out there dreaming about telling a story to believe that their story is just as valid as the ones nominated for best picture, and sadly those stories do not reflect our culture as a whole.
All in all I found the actual show quite disappointing. It really is a cultural touchstone and when these moments pass by and leave such evident gender disparity as its legacy, we all suffer for it.