The 93rd Academy Awards are nigh, and while we here at BTB were pleased to see the Best Director nominees include two deserving women and an Asian-American male alongside the usual requisite White guys, we were disappointed to see one of said White guys was David Fincher who, for the movie MANK, opted to cast 62-year old Gary Oldman as the story’s 43-year old Herman J. Mankiewicz, while simultaneously casting 33-year-old Tuppence Middleton to portray Emily Nunn, Mankiewicz’s 43-year-old wife, thus perpetuating Hollywood’s longtime trend of sexism and ageism. Why must they continue to reward bad behavior? Sigh.
Fortunately, there are plenty of other movies and series featuring far more impressive casting decisions, and we’re also seeing more and more strong, diverse females of varying ages both in front of and behind the camera.
So, instead of tuning into the predictably patriarchal Oscars, you may want to check out some of the following instead…
GINNY & GEORGIA (series, Netflix): We’ve come a long way since the “rapey” John Hughes-helmed teen films, as charismatic teenager Ginny describes them in this clever and utterly engaging show, likened to an updated GILMORE GIRLS, albeit with a healthy dose of intersectionality in terms of race, sexuality, economic class and even health. Kudos to the writers for including a family who also speaks in sign language in any scene including the deaf father. What may be most impressive here, however, is the fact that both the teen-focused and adult storylines are equally engaging – now that’s family-friendly viewing (albeit depictions of sex and violence might be a bit much for very young family members.)
MOXIE (movie, Netflix): One of those rare cases where a movie based on a really good book might just surpass its source material. I loved Jennifer Mathieu’s 2015 YA novel when it came out, and yet kudos to the filmmakers for ramping it up in the best possible way by updating the storyline and making casting and setting choices that bring the story to a new level. It’s fun, it’s thoughtful, it’s meaningful and it’s empowering. It should be mandatory viewing at every American High School, and possibly for every American in general. Feminism at its best.
TEENAGE BOUNTY HUNTERS (series, Netflix): If somebody put John Waters’ HAIRSPRAY (1988), Brian Dannelly’s SAVED! (2004) and Michael Lehmann’s HEATHERS (1989), in a magical media blender and created a TV series, it would probably come out something like this—and that is a beautiful and wonderful thing! TBH, is one of the most original, fun and surprisingly heartfelt series I’ve seen, combining social satire with excellent performances and fabulous storytelling. Shame on Netflix for not renewing it for a second season.
NOMADLAND (2020, In select theaters and available on Hulu): The story of a nomad who takes to the road when she is forced to start over after losing both her husband and her livelihood. The film is directed by Chinese American Chloe Zhao, a front-runner for an Academy Award in the directing category. If she wins, she will be only the second woman in Oscar history to achieve this honor.
MY SALINGER YEAR (2020, In select theaters and available on Amazon Prime): A young woman moves to NYC to pursue her ambition of being a writer. In order to pay the bills, she works for a literary agency that represents the reclusive writer JD Salinger. She soon finds herself torn between her dreams of being a writer and the security of a job. The plot covers familiar territory, but the performances of Sigourney Weaver and Margaret Qualley gives this film a fresh appeal. And let’s face it, the story of a young woman trying to establish a new life in a big city never gets old.
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