Frances McDormand, Muse

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Lately I’ve been feeling conflicted about how much I enjoyed Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Having read a lot of the critical backlash, I can now see how writer and director Martin McDonagh’s engagement with racism is glib and manipulative. But I have to admit that while watching Three Billboards, the only thing I perceived as seriously off-key was the setting. I kept thinking it was set in some small western town, near a coast, but then a character would say something about being in “the south” and I would have to recalibrate. More than once, I had to remind myself of the film’s title in order to get my bearings. This admittedly, is a pretty big problem for a film to have, but I felt like the whole thing was made coherent—or at least was made to seem coherent—by Francis McDormand’s leading performance. Continue reading “Frances McDormand, Muse”

Should Acting Awards Be Gender-Neutral?

With the Academy Awards coming up this Sunday, I’ve been thinking about my acting picks and wondering why we separate the awards between male and female actors. I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve pretty much taken this tradition for granted and accepted it without examination. But the more I think about it, the more it seems strange to divide the field in this way. I don’t think anyone would argue that men and women practice the craft of acting in markedly different ways, or that men or women are naturally better at acting, giving one sex an advantage over another. There’s also the question of where actors who identify as gender non-binary would fit into these categories. Continue reading “Should Acting Awards Be Gender-Neutral?”

Female Representation at the Oscars

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So, as has been widely reported, this is the first time in 8 YEARS that a woman, Greta Gerwig, has been nominated for best director, and only the fifth time that a woman has ever been nominated for best director. I loved “Lady Bird” and I’m really happy to see that it got so many nominations–especially its screenplay, which was so witty but also a total tearjerker. (The picture above pretty much sums up my mood while watching it.) Here’s a round up of women nominated in other categories (excluding acting): Continue reading “Female Representation at the Oscars”