Film & Television · News

The Wednesday Five: Oscar Women

This year’s Oscar nominations sees women breaking through even more glass ceilings.




1. For First Time, an Oscar Acting Category Features 3 Black Women Nominees

And that category is Best Supporting Actress. In its 89th year, the Oscar’s, for the first time, has three black women nominated for a single category — meaning, they dominate the Supporting Actress nomination. Viola Davis for Fences, Naomie Harris for Moonlight and Octavia Spencer for Hidden Figures are all up for the best supporting actress prize. Kevin O’Keefe of Mic writes:

2017’s lineup is particularly remarkable for its place in history. Keep in mind that the last two years boasted a grand total of zero black nominees — zero performers of color, for that matter — in any acting category. This represents a drastic turnaround, one that may not fix the problem but is glorious regardless.




“13TH”, the 2016 American documentary by director Ava DuVernay.

2. Women Dominate Best Documentary Feature Category

Four women producers are up for the Best Documentary Feature prize. They include: Donatella Palermo for Fire at Sea; Julie Goldman for Life, Animated; Caroline Waterlow for O.J.: Made in America; and Ava DuVernay for 13th. Writing in Bustle, Shannon Carlin notes:

While the other women nominated in this category are producers, DuVernay is the only female director nominated . . . By earning the nomination for Documentary Feature, though, she follows in the footsteps of other women who have thrived in this category. The Center for the Study of Women in Television & Film at San Diego State University revealed in 2014 that women made up 29 percent of directors working on documentaries. This year the Center for the Study of Women in Television & Film also found that women were more likely to work in documentaries, reporting that 24 percent of those working in that genre were women.

Read more at Bustle.


3. The Tragic Endurance of Racism

From our review by Dr. Cecilia Ford on the now Oscar-nominated documentary, 13th:

Filmmaker Ana DuVernay (Selma) sets out to show how although the Civil War ended slavery in an official sense, its legacy lives on. A well-researched and vividly filmed documentary, 13th shows how the 13th Amendment, meant to free African-Americans from enslavement, helped perpetuate it by including a loophole, which legalized forced labor for prisoners. Interviews with many leading historians, including activist Angela Davis, recall how the white hegemony immediately set about arresting and imprisoning vast numbers of former slaves for petty crimes — throwing away the key, and dooming them to what was essentially slave labor all over again.

Read the full review here.

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