As many of us get ready to attend Oscar viewing parties tomorrow and throw a few bucks into a betting pool—hoping to pick the most winners and take home the pot—we still have a nagging sense about those who were not nominated. So here are some suggestions of Oscars that should be given out tomorrow.
Best Director who was not nominated:
Ava DuVernay, of course, whose movie Selma received a Best Picture nod, yet she was not personally honored. OK, neither were some of the other Best Pic directors, since there are more possible nominees in one category than the other. But still, c’mon, we can’t help but believe that women directors in general—and women directors of color in particular—are still several rungs down on the ladder of Academy (and Hollywood film industry) acceptance. So we honor Ms. DuVernay—and we’re happy to see that Oprah Winfrey has tapped her to create an original drama series for the OWN network.
Best Mother-Daughter relationship in a film:
A tie here, between Laura Dern/Reese Witherspoon in Wild and Julianne Moore/Kristen Stewart in Still Alice. We especially appreciated Dern’s character’s kindness to her daughter (even when the daughter snottily puts her down with, “I’m just so much more sophisticated than you were at my age”) and the kindness of Stewart’s character (the only family member to really support Mom as she drifts into the later stages of Alzheimer’s) despite Mom’s frequent undercutting of her daughter’s dream to be an actor. Both films are ostensibly about one woman’s challenge/quest, but ultimately the portrayal of the mother-daughter bond leaves the most lasting impression.
Worst Category for Women in Hollywood:
Can we give negative Oscars as well? There’s a lot of competition for this one, especially in the production/post-production categories. We already know how underrepresented women directors are on big-budget Hollywood films—just 7 percent, according to the latest study [pdf] by San Diego State’s Martha Lauzen—but the numbers are even worse in fields like cinematography, sound editing and scoring. And the winner is … film scoring, in which there were no women composers on 99 percent of the 250 top-grossing films of 2014.
Best Icon Who Didn’t Get an Oscar Nod for Best Song:
Wouldn’t you have loved to see singer/songwriter/poet/author Patti Smith—one of the most influential women in the history of rock music—on stage performing her song “Mercy Is” (from Noah)? Alas, while she got a Golden Globe nomination (as did DuVernay—thank you, Hollywood Foreign Press!), she didn’t hear from the Academy—which is known for being ridiculously conservative and pedestrian in their Best Song nominations and victors.
Hollywood Feminists of the Year:
A wonderful tie here, between Kristen Stewart, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emma Watson (now that she may be dating Prince Harry, will she turn him feminist as well?), Daniel Radcliffe and Aziz Ansari. We’re having a great moment of #WhatAFeministLooksLike.
Please add your own ideas for Alterna-Oscars in the comments!
Michele Kort is senior editor of Ms. She is the author of Soul Picnic: The Music and Passion of Laura Nyro and coeditor (with Audrey Bilger) of Here Come the Brides: Reflections on Lesbian Love and Marriage