Highlights from the 2012 Oscars

As I have expressed in my previous posts on the Golden Globes, 2011 was one of my favourite years for film. On this Oscar Sunday, the 84th Annual Academy Awards brought this incredible 2012 awards season to a close, giving Hollywood one last chance to recognize the great cinematic achievements of the past year.

These were some of my favourite moments from tonight’s ceremony…

  • The Artist winning the biggest award of the evening, Best Picture, along with Best Director (Michel Hazanavicius), Best Actor (Jean Dujardin), and Best Original Score (and Best Animal for Uggie… what do you mean that category doesn’t exist? Give a dog a bone, won’t ya?). As my friend Tania says, “to carry a story solely through expression and direction is art.”
  • Martin Scorsese’s Hugo scoring the most trophies in five art and technical categories: Cinematography, Art Direction, Visual Effects, Sound Editing, and Sound Mixing. The magic of Hugo is in the captivating cinematic experience it offers its audience.
  • The Muppets winning Best Original Song for “Man or Muppet”, which is one of the funniest musical numbers I have ever seen!
  • Octavia Spencer winning an Oscar for her Supporting Actress role in The Help and accepting her well-deserved award with tremendous emotion.
  • Meryl Streep receiving her third Oscar for her role as Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady. While I was convinced that Viola Davis would win for her performance in The Help, it was a tough roll between all of the magnificent women nominated in this category. Meryl’s gracious and graceful acceptance speech reminded us of why she is one of Hollywood’s most beloved actresses.
  • Christopher Plummer finally getting his first Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in Beginners. He makes history as the oldest actor to receive an Academy Award at the age of 82. Yay, Captain Von Trapp!
  • Always a bittersweet favourite is the In Memoriam segment of the show. Esperanza Spalding delivered a stunning rendition of What a Wonderful World as the photo montage played. It was surreal seeing Whitney Houston among the list of great talents who have left us. Has it really been a year since Elizabeth Taylor passed away?
  • Presenters like Robert Downey Jr, Gwenyth Paltrow, Emma Stone, Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy (can they please host next year’s Oscars?), and the cast of Bridesmaids conjuring up some laughs to entertain the audience members and viewers at home.


You’re only two years older than me, darling. Where have you been all my life?
– Christopher Plummer

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.