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I’m a gamer, always have been.

Is the Year of the Woman Enough to Bring Home Oscar Wins?

Over at Hollywood-Elsewhere, Jeff Wells is losing his mind over the possibility of The Shape of Water or Get Out winning Best Picture. There is no particular reason I can think of for this except that he has an ongoing beef with those two films. Instead he’s decided to throw out the “year of the woman” thing, which is never his usual way — quite the opposite — when picking winners.  But he really really really has a thing for Lady Bird.

In a competitive year, one thing that Lady Bird has going for it, other than the Year of the Woman, is that middle-aged guys seem to be some of Lady Bird’s biggest champions. Go figure.   

Surely no one is going to complain if Lady Bird wins anything. Everyone loves Greta Gerwig — and why shouldn’t they? She’s smart, talented, young, pretty, funny, ambitious, etc. Many seem to really love the movie too, whether they’re from Sacramento, or identify with the imperfect, bratty, slightly awkward Lady Bird, or they identify with the weary mom who did her best, or the nice dad who was the guiding force in helping the bird take flight. People seem to really love the film overall, with no one really hating it.

We don’t know how the Academy ranking is going to go but there is the possibility that a large number of voters will block vote for women to help women, to show the world that they care about women in the industry, to make up for Hillary’s loss; for all of those reasons it’s possible we could see wins, like we saw at the DGA in the television categories. Might voters look at their ballots and think: I’m going to vote for the woman?

Lady Bird will have to beat Get Out at the WGA coming up next weekend to have a clear shot at Best Picture. Neither film is up for director at the BAFTA, though both are up for screenplay. Get Out won Screenplay at the Critics Choice, whhereas Lady Bird won Comedy at the Globe.

Here are the major categories where women are nominated:

Directing – 1 – Lady Bird
Original Screenplay – 3 -Lady Bird, The Shape of Water, The Big Sick
Adapted Screenplay – 1 – Mudbound
Editing – 1 – I, Tonya
Cinematography – 1 – Mudbound
Production Design – 5 – Beauty and the Beast, Darkest Hour, Blade Runner 2049
Producing – 6 – Call Me By Your Name, Lady Bird, Dunkirk, Darkest Hour, Phantom Thread, The Post
Costume – 3 – Beauty and the Beast, Darkest Hour, Victoria and Abdul
Makeup and Hair – 2 – Darkest Hour, Victoria and Abdul
Song – 3 – Mudbound, Coco, Marshall
Documentary Feature – 2 – Abacus Too Small to Jail, Faces Places, Strong Island

In terms of predicting, thinking about what’s going on in Hollywood right now, it might be wise to consider how voters might approach those movies that they know have women prominently involved. It isn’t anything that can really be controlled — and I don’t think you can particularly criticize it either. Men have always had the advantage across the board. I don’t think any woman would want to win just because she’s a woman. I can’t imagine anyone wanting that dubious honor: it’s so much more satisfying to win because you knew you were the best. But perhaps “best” is in the eye of the beholder.

Far too many people have always insisted on claiming that Kathryn Bigelow only won the The Hurt Locker because she was a woman, and 12 Years a Slave because the director was black, or Moonlight because of #OscarsSoWhite. Sometimes change has to be forced. In a perfect world we would say that only those deserving should win. But people win for a wide variety of reasons, not just because they were the best but because they were the most liked at a given moment. Lady Bird winning is to me no better or worse than Argo winning. It is sort of the same thing: charismatic actor makes film a lot of people like. If it’s only half the time because it was actually the best, then there is wiggle room to vote for change, I suppose. That’s the best I can do, folks. I have written for a year about the movies I love, but generally the movies I love aren’t loved to the same degree by the voting consensus. It has to then be not about what I love or what I want to win or hope wins, but rather what I believe will win.

So we must consider this and all things when making our lists and checking them twice in the run-up to Oscar season.