The Academy’s Little problem with Women

Greta Gerwig’s adaption of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women hit screens everywhere in December of last year. Three weeks on, it seems the film is headed for total success. With wide acclaim and a Rotten Tomatoes score of 95%, it’s unsurprising that The Academy has been paying attention, and it’s clear they LOVE it, nominating Little Women for six Oscars, including best picture and best actress. This comes as a welcome result considering the movie’s lack of appearance in the Golden Globe‘s best picture category.

 

image via refinery29

Sadly, unlike 2018, Greta Gerwig was not among the list of best directors, a list that was problematically entirely male. This highlights a bigger problem in Hollywood’s reportedly sexist culture. Greta Gerwig scripted an incredible adaption of a classic book, pulled together her powerhouse of a cast and kept Alcott’s core messages throughout. Some would argue that she deserves an award for bringing Saoirse Ronan and Timothée Chalamet together on screen again alone – but that might just be me. Despite all of this, she was snubbed when the nominations were released earlier this week. If Greta Gerwig couldn’t make the cut, it begs the question of what criteria is being considered.

 

image via statista

When Louisa May Alcott penned Little Women, the rebellious and enduring nature of the March sisters is part of what made the novel so brilliant and Greta Gerwig is no stranger to rebellion nor endurance, creating and existing as she does in a male-dominated film environment. It’s not all doom and patriarchal gloom, though. In speaking to Vanity Fair, the producer of the film, Amy Pascal, pointed out that Little Women was the “third movie in the history of the Academy that has been nominated [for best picture] that has been written, directed, and produced by women.” That, in and of itself, is proof that Hollywood’s problems (much like our own) may lessen with age. 

 

 

One of the core messages in Little Women, particularly in the movie, is the importance of writing, reading, and learning (oh my!). Spoilers are incoming for those of you fortunate enough not to know this!! When Beth gets sick, her illness is something that Jo hopes to aid with fresh sea air and a good story. Tragically, the plot alone is not enough to save Beth but the stories Jo writes for her are a comfort in her time of need. I think we can all agree that the comfort of a favorite story is no small thing and with Little Women being that favorite for so many people, the novel and film are self-fulfilling. Gerwig credits Little Women for giving her the inspiration to write and create, the film a passion project that no Oscar could ever overshadow.

 

moe’s book club via tumblr

Despite the gender politics, the movie looks set to surpass box office records and hopefully take home some, if not all, its prospective awards at the Oscars. Gerwig may not have a directorial nomination to celebrate, but the film has the best picture prospects alongside potential accolades for Saoirse Ronan and Florence Pugh.

As Jo put it herself: “Women, they have minds, and they have souls as well as just hearts, and they’ve got ambition, and they’ve got talent, as well as just beauty”. Academy, make a note.

 

 

Featured Image Via Britannica


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