There are plenty of things to get mad about looking over this year’s list of Oscar nominees. Aside from the blatant lack of racial diversity in the main acting categories (literally all of the Best and Supporting Actor and Actress nominees are white), there is the fact that, once again, there is a clear lack of support for female filmmakers (no Ava DuVernay for Selma!?!) from members of the Academy. But instead of just raging at the male writers, directors and producers who got their spots, let’s just list the female filmmakers who deserved them. You know, so they at least they get some sort of attention for their work.
JENNIFER KENT, The Babadook
Whether or not you’re a fan of the movie and its spooky parental premise (a little boy starts driving her mother nutty claiming that he’s being haunted by a created called, you guessed it, the Babadook), you have to admire the work of Kent put into creating the dark world surrounding it. The slow-moving pace and creeping shooting style is obvious purposeful and gives a story that might not be all that unfamiliar a remarkably standout vibe. It might not seem like some great feat to create an old school horror film, but in a society that’s obsessed with over-the-top and gross-out scares, she’s done something truly special.
GILLIAN ROBESPIERRE, Obvious Child
This abortion-focused film starring Jenny Slate is going to naturally divide audiences just based on its very premise. But the thing is, Robespierre’s script is careful not to hit you over the head with agendas either way. The way that she writes this story makes it less about what’s happening to Slate’s character, twentysomething comedian Donna, and more about how what’s happening to her affects her emotionally and physically, particularly as she attempts to navigate a relationship with the one-night stand who got her in this state. The emotions built into the dialogue are just as raw as the comedy Donna performs in between it all, resulting in a conflicting, awkward and captivating tone that’s hard to shake.
NICOLE PERLMAN, Guardians of the Galaxy
Didn’t realize James Gunn wasn’t the only voice behind the most successful and wonderfully weird superhero movie of the year? You’re probably not the only one. But that shouldn’t take away from Perlman’s efforts, as she contributed to one of the most interesting female blockbuster heroines of the year, Zoe Saldana’s Gamora. Together with Gunn, she brought us a lady warrior for little girls to look up to, one that isn’t afraid to call out a cocky guy on trying to seduce her to the tune of a 10cc song, nor to face off against her sister in an attempt to make things right.
GILLIAN FLYNN, Gone Girl
This is a debatable one depending on how you liked Flynn’s interpretation on her own source material. I myself have issues with the things that Flynn decided to include and exclude, including her deletion female characters like Tanner Bolt’s wife. But you also have to respect the fact that she did not withhold her acerbic sense of humour, nor her cutting commentary on gender relations and the “cool girl” construct in bringing her hit book to even bigger audiences. Assisted by a wonderfully alert performance from Rosemund Pike, Flynn’s leading female character, Amy, was perhaps even more captivating than she was on the page.