It's shaping up to be a great year for women actors. Bridesmaids, with its Golden Globes, Critics' Choice and Screen Actors' Guild award nominations, managed to end the annoying debate over whether women can be funny. (They can, duh.) Lead actor nominations for the ladies have gone to Glenn Close, playing a woman who passes as a man to survive in 1800s Ireland, and Meryl Streep, portraying the Iron Lady Margaret Thatcher herself, rather than rewarding the manic pixie dream girls of the film world. Compare this year's nominees to those a decade, or even five years ago, and it's clear that on-screen opportunities for women are expanding.
Behind the camera, however is a different story. Best Director nominations in all the major awards have gone entirely to men -- talented men, the likes of Scorcese, Allen, and Spielberg, but a group made up of only men all the same. We're not saying films like The Artist and Midnight in Paris aren't deserving of attention. It's just, well, where our ladies at, directorially speaking?
Making some damn good movies, it turns out. And they deserve a little love too. Here's our pick of women we wish we could see in the awards show nominee montages in the coming months.
Tilda Swinton nabbed a handful of nominations for her role in We Need To Talk About Kevin, but the creepy-crawly feeling you get about the mother-son relationship in the film isn't down to her alone. Ramsay not only directed this thriller, she also wrote it -- and she managed to stop us from wanting to laugh at John C. Reilly at all times, which is a huge accomplishment in itself.
First-time director Leigh didn't hold much back putting together Sleeping Beauty, a stylized, modern version of the fairy tale feminists love to hate. In this version, poor college student Lucy gets a job that knocking herself out with drugs and letting dudes have their way with her -- until she gets curious about what's actually happening while she's asleep, and wakes her own damn self up. The film manages to be stark and ornate all at once. And if you don't want to take our word for it, consider that this one comes with Jane Campion's stamp of approval.
You've gotta love Miranda July. If you took Zooey Deschanel's New Girl character, gave her a brain and a dark side and serious camera skills, you'd end up with her. Case in point: July's 2011 film The Future, in which a couple struggles with the meaning of life -- and which also features a talking cat and a talking moon. Points for originality.
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You know we had to give the local scene some love. Mayer might not have a feature film this year, but her short film Life and Freaky Times of Uncle Luke is going to Sundance. We've got our fingers crossed that it brings her all the recognition she deserves.