This morning on Twitter, Ryan, Paddy, Tero and I were discussing women in film, specifically, women in film and the Best Picture race. Ryan came to the conclusion that it’s been roughly 60 years since films dominated by women also dominated the Best Picture race. I took it one step further to say that films dominated by women have been steadily declining not just in Hollywood but specifically in the Oscar race, which now has a wider selection of Best Picture contenders than any time since the mid-1940s.
The last year to feature films with strong female leads was 2010, when the Academy had a solid ten Best Picture contenders. The difference between then and now is that voters could put down ten votes for Best Picture. Now they pick five. In 2010, the Best Picture race had three films that easily passed the Bechdel test: Winter’s Bone, The Kids Are All Right and Black Swan.
So what is the Bechdel test? Oh, it’s just three little things, believe it or not: