Women Are Dominating the 2018 Oscars in Surprising Ways

Jan 23, 2018 at 9:43 a.m. ET
Image: Fox Searchlight Pictures, A24, 20th Century Fox

Perhaps the most eagerly awaited announcement of awards season this year has finally arrived. That's right, I'm talking about the 2018 Oscar nominations. They. Are. Here.

The nominations were announced early on Tuesday morning and luckily, War for the Planet of the Apes star Andy Serkis and our new fave, Girls Trip star Tiffany Haddish, were there to read all the noms and provide some comic relief. It was certainly a thrilling moment from start to finish, and it was clear right from the get-go that women were going to be seen and heard during this year's Oscars proceedings.

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The first inklings of this domination came in the form of the preview videos shown to announce each category. Before Serkis and Haddish read out the nominees of a respective category, viewers were treated to a short video teasing the topic. For example, Rebel Wilson starred in a video for the animation categories by playing a diner waiter who can animate the cutlery and radio with her magic touch. Michelle Yeoh starred in a short video for visual effects in which she appeared to be floating underwater until the camera panned away to reveal she was sitting on a chair on dry land and machines were doing the effects work. Molly Shannon helped announce the film-editing category by starring in a video as a woman tied up on a train track awaiting a train to run her over until it's shown to be a tiny train edited to look life-size. Other women involved in these mini-videos included Gal Gadot, Zoe Saldana, Michelle Rodriguez and Salma Hayek.

Letting a diverse group of women participate in short clips just to help announce the categories, even if they didn't speak, was certainly one way to make it clear that the 2018 Oscars are listening to the people and taking note of the cultural movement we are having thanks to Time's Up and #MeToo. It will be interesting to see if the Oscars will take a page out of the SAG Awards playbook and let more women present awards or perhaps comment even further on what is happening in Hollywood right now in regard to gender parity and representation in the industry.

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But it's the women who have nabbed nominations this year who deserve our praise and attention. Gosh, where to begin? Maybe we can start with Rachel Morrison, the cinematographer for Mudbound and the first woman to ever be nominated in the cinematography category (in 90 years!). Or maybe we can give a shoutout to Greta Gerwig, who is the only fifth woman to be nominated for Best Director, and she did it with her first major feature-length film, Lady Bird. Or just maybe we should hoot and holler for Emily V. Gordon, who cowrote The Big Sick with her husband, comedian Kumail Nanjiani, and just nabbed her first ever Oscar nomination.

We could also give three cheers for the women nominated for Best Supporting Actress. One thing that's clear from just looking at this category is that it favors older women (Octavia Spencer is the youngest nominee at 47 years old) who are nominated for performances that are arguably knockout performances on their own. They may play wives, mothers, sisters and best friends, but the women nominated in this category are seasoned pros who have just made the competition incredibly fierce. Oh, and let's not forget that Best Supporting Actress nominee Mary J. Blige (Mudbound) is the first person ever to be nominated in a best acting category and best song category in the same year.

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Finally, if you look at the nominees for Best Actress, you'll notice some interesting things. While the category is comprised of only white women, there is a decent age range present here, with Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird) being the youngest and Meryl Streep (The Post) being the oldest. But also, the women nominated have brought different skills to the table in order for them to net their noms or are playing women that really fit with the spirit of the times. For instance, Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water) played a mute woman. For more than two hours, Hawkins was required to emote and deliver without one of an actor's key tools — astonishing stuff. Additionally, Frances McDormand (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), Margot Robbie (I, Tonya) and Streep (perhaps the most nominated female actor in Oscars history) are nominated for playing women who don't give a damn about playing by the rules, who are driven to smash the patriarchy and to establish their dominance when society tries to force them to sit down. Hell, yeah.

The 2018 Oscars don't officially air until March 4, but one thing is certainly clear: Women in film are here to stay. They're making sure our stories are heard and they're not going anywhere anytime soon.

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