The 2016 Academy Awards nomination list is being criticized for its lack of diversity — not just for lack of ethnically diverse characters, but also for its lack of women in front of and behind the camera. Here are 13 women and/or films about women we think should have been nominated.
1. Sarah Gavron for directing Suffragette
This movie not only told a significant story about the history of women’s rights, it was also a fantastic film full of high-stakes drama, beautiful cinematography and moving performances.
2. Carey Mulligan as Maud Watts in Suffragette
Nominated for Best Actress in 2010 for her role in An Education, Mulligan is one of the most talented young actresses around.
3. Abi Morgan for writing Suffragette
Best known for writing the movie The Iron Lady, starring Meryl Streep, Morgan is a tremendous writer who knows how to tell women’s stories like no one else.
4. Bel Powley in The Diary of a Teenage Girl
Based on the novel by Phoebe Gloeckner, The Diary of a Teenage Girl is a heartbreaking mother/daughter story that will shake you to your core. Powley is outstanding in the lead role of the teen girl who begins an affair with her mother’s boyfriend.
5. Marielle Heller for writing the screenplay and directing The Diary of a Teenage Girl
Marielle Heller showed great emotional complexity with her debut feature film, and it’s not surprising that she’s also directed an episode of Transparent. No doubt we’ll be hearing more from Heller in the future.
6. Teyonah Parris as Lysistrata in Chi-Raq
Chi-Raq, directed by Spike Lee, is hands down one of the most important films of the decade. Dealing with gun violence on the South Side of Chicago, Lysistrata (Parris), decides to go on a sex strike. Of course, this is based on the ancient Greek play, Lysistrata, but because all the dialogue is spoken like a rap song in rhymed couplets, it takes the storytelling to a whole new level. Parris is superb as the clever and sexy Lysistrata and should have at least been nominated for Best Supporting Actress.
7. Amy Schumer for writing Trainwreck
We know Schumer is as funny as she is edgy. We could make a solid argument that Trainwreck was the most hilarious film of the year.
8. Star Wars: The Force Awakens for Best Picture
The Academy may now nominate up to 10 films for Best Picture, but chose only to include eight this year for some unknown reason. If The Force Awakens had been nominated, it would have likely ensured high ratings for the awards show due to the large Star Wars fan base.
9. Daisy Ridley as Rey in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Ridley played a forceful character who’s a lot more than a princess. Not that Princess Leia is chopped liver; we love her, too!
10. Lily Tomlin as Elle Reid in Grandma
Tomlin is a national treasure and, surprisingly, has only been nominated once for an Oscar — for her role in 1975’s Nashville.
11. Cinderella for Best Picture
Sure, it’s a fairy tale, but it was pure magic! From Cate Blanchett’s Evil Stepmother to Helena Bonham Carter’s Fairy Godmother, this is cinema at its best.
12. Maggie Smith as Miss Shepard in The Lady in the Van
Perhaps because she’s already won two Oscars, the Academy thought it was OK to skip her this year, but she was outstanding in this role.
13. Helen Mirren as Hedda Hopper in Trumbo
Mirren was electric in her scenes with Bryan Cranston, who played the title role, giving the largely stiff biopic some wit and pizzazz.
The 88th Academy Awards will air Feb. 28, 2016.