Since the Oscar race that started with Argo in Telluride is now finishing with Argo in Hollywood I have really no choice but to quote Bob Dylan — “You just kinda wasted my precious time but don’t think twice, it’s all right.” All of the in-between that happened there? That was the stuff that dreams are made of. One of the things that happened this year and will likely be remembered by whomever decides to write about the Oscars ten or twenty years hence, was that Kathleen Kennedy became the most nominated producer in Oscar history with zero wins. Together with Steven Spielberg the two of them now hold the record for most producing nominations. It is astonishing to me, and should be to you, that a woman — A WOMAN — holds that record, considering Hollywood and the Oscars are driven, year after year, up to and including this one by men. You will say, oh she’s just bitter. Shut up about sexism already. Well, honey, if I don’t say something who will?
Maybe you’re tired of reading about it, the near shut out of women and people of color now that the Oscars are hitting their 85th year. If I hope to leave all of you Oscar watchers with anything once I end this insufferable game for good it’s this: don’t be lazy about what you see happening before your very eyes. Speak up about it. Always. You are the future. At their best, Oscars can mean more doors being kicked down.
Last month I went up to the Santa Barbara Film Fest and attended the Producers Panel. A group of very prolific, ambitious and supportive producers were there: Bruce Cohen for Silver Linings Playbook, Debra Hayward for Les Miserables, Dan Janvey for Beasts of the Southern Wild, Stacey Sher for Django Unchained and David Womark for Life of Pi. In the middle sat Kathleen Kennedy — self-assured and mostly quiet, letting the others draw applause for their engaging stories of basically turning water into wine. Each time the question was brought up about how any of them got their start or who taught them to do what they’re doing now they all looked over and said “Kathleen Kennedy taught me everything I know.”