From all the films made every year, the Academy must choose the performance that deserves its Best Actress accolade—and avid watchers of their annual awards might well conclude it has no sensible criteria. Some years, the voting body wants to show its integrity. Other years, it wants to pet its poodles. This year, it wanted to pretend that racism isn’t an industry given, and rolled out an inelegant glut of tardy tributes. And there are, clearly, yet more social and political complexities polluting the field.
There are some contests in which women are truly at a disadvantage when competing with men. Football. Presidential nominations. Snow-writing. But acting is not one of them. Streep vs. Nicholson, Dame Judi vs. Sir Ian, Maggie Gyllenhaal vs. Jake Gyllenhaal - the Vegas odds would be close ones indeed if these actors were pitted against each other for top honors.
Wish there were more kick-ass female characters in the movies? Enough with The Piano-esqe mute-is-powerful bullshit. Sometimes you can find feminism in the most unlikely places, like action movies and Freaky Friday-like comedies.
When I rented Sleep With Me, I was expecting a silly angst-ridden Gen-X romantic comedy. I’d read the back of the box, so I knew that Joe and Sarah were married but that Frank, Joe’s best friend, was in love with her. Instead of an entertaining but benign and forgettable 90 minutes, I got a playful, subversive discourse on gender as a constructed spectacle.