The Bechdel Test for the 2012 Oscars

Last year, three of the films nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards featured women in its leading roles (Black Swan, Winter’s Bone, The Kids Are All Right).

This year, the frontrunner for many of the awards at tomorrow’s Oscars is The Help, a movie which features a cast of strong female characters. But are women truly making gains in Hollywood in terms of female representation?

In the video above, Feminist Frequency’s Anita Sarkeesian applies Allison Bechdel‘s Bechdel Test to the 2012 Best Picture nominees to assess the presence of female roles in these acclaimed motion pictures. To pass the test, a film must fulfill three requirements: It must 1) have at least two female characters 2) who talk to each other 3) about something other than a man.

While the test does not determine the quality of a film, the evaluation of gender bias in current movies does bring to light the systemic problem within the Hollywood film industry. Many of the films we see cater to the interests of men and fail to tell women’s stories as they really are – complex and interesting. After looking at the Bechdel Test Movie List, an online database of films measured by the test, I am astonished over how so many popular movies do not meet the simple requirements of the test. This makes the under- and mis-representation of women in the film industry a glaring reality.

The next time you watch a movie (or even your favourite television show), consider the Bechdel Test and see which ones pass and which ones flunk.

View the original Bechdel Test for Women in the Movies video here.
See more conversations on Pop Culture at Feminist Frequency.

the kings speech

Film Review: “The King’s Speech” Reigns

I invite you all to check out a collaborative blog project called “For Your Consideration: 10 Films, 1 Best Picture…“, in which a team of avid cinemaphiles discuss the ten films vying for Best Picture at the 2011 Academy Awards. A case is drawn for each candidate over why it should be rewarded the prestigious title.

My vote goes to The King’s Speech, the British historical drama about the struggles of King George VI, starring Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, and Helena Bonham-Carter.

The King’s Speech has been dealt a royal flush of accolades throughout the 2011 awards season, leading this year’s Academy Awards nomination tally with recognition in twelve categories. Directed by Tom Hooper and written by David Seidler, this British historical drama tells the story of King George VI’s struggles with a speech impediment. The film focuses on his relationship with Australian speech therapist Lionel Logue, who assists him in overcoming his stutter and restoring his confidence, urging him to become the leader Great Britain needs on the brink of World War II.

What sets The King’s Speech apart from your typical period piece and makes it a standout candidate in this year’s pool of remarkable Best Picture nominees are its brilliant acting performances, its compelling story and the inspired way in which the film combines history with humanity in an engrossing and relatable manner.

Continue reading “Film Review: “The King’s Speech” Reigns”