It’s hard to get the kind of publicity big time movie stars get if you’re headed into the Oscar race. What Ava DuVernay has instead is a great movie. The great thing about her is that defies definition at every turn, as she explains in the story by Manohla Dargis. For the first in a long while a major film critic has really started to pin down the frightening vanishing of women’s stories being told in film. Dargis mentions that in terms of DuVernay and Angelina Jolie’s work this year, that to get attention as female directors they had to make stories about men – Dargis hopes DuVernay gets back to stories about women. After compiling the list of 1,000 something critics yesterday I can tell you that it’s a man’s game, getting attention from critics. You simply can’t tell stories of women that most men can relate to – generally, the stories of women that do get attention are about women the majority of men are fascinated by – either because they are mysteriously beautiful, mysteriously tragic and beautiful or just beautiful. It’s harder to tell stories about real women that the majority of the critics find fascinating. Separate them and ask them and sure. But huddle them into a consensus? This is why women directors making movies about men (unless they’re at Jane Campion’s level, or Bigelows, and even then…) will tend to do better in the awards race; it isn’t about the industry so much as the gatekeepers. In fact, I’ve found Oscar voters to be older and thus not conditioned or raised to the world of film revolves around men. Older voters remember directors like Mike Nichols and Jim Brooks who created intricate, complex stories around women who weren’t mysterious/beautiful/lost but actual fully fleshed out people. Anyway, food for the thought.