MOVIES

Oscars 2024 Prove That Women Have To Suffer On-Screen To Win Awards

With all of that in mind, let’s look at the films that were nominated for Oscars that are likely just honored to be included — as well as critical darlings that missed the cut. Both “Past Lives” and “Barbie” offer insightful, incisive looks at womanhood, yearning, and personal growth. Neither will win Best Picture. The respective stars, Greta Lee and Margot Robbie, were both left out of the best actress category, alongside their directors Celine Song and Greta Gerwig. While both movies put their female leads Nora (Lee) and Barbie (Robbie) into emotionally fraught situations, the stories feature relatively low stakes. This doesn’t make them less worthy in actuality; it just means they’re slightly quieter than their competition and thus, the performances and directors weren’t given a fair shake.

Another particularly egregious example — which received zero nominations — is the beloved 2023 adaptation of Judy Blume’s novel “Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret.” Directed by Kelly Fremon Craig and starring Abby Ryder Fortson as Margaret and Rachel McAdams as her mother Barbara, the film is a moving, straightforward, and extraordinarily layered portrait of both girlhood and womanhood, between Margaret navigating puberty and Barbara trying to carve out her identity beyond being Margaret’s mother. Despite widespread praise for McAdams’ performance in particular, a movie like this simply wasn’t recognized, because nobody leaves the narrative completely traumatized.

Women don’t need to be brutalized, harmed, or otherwise in distress for their stories to be important … but according to the Oscars, they do. Perhaps one day, a story about a woman simply being happy might have a shot at best picture. But for now, suffering is key.

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