Hi Hollywood. It's me. I know this is a bit awkward, but I just wanted to drop you a line to remind you that women exist. Yes, I KNOW you really like Meryl Streep, but there are other ones. No, seriously. They even speak and move around and do things. Some of them even do films. I know this is a big revelation but just sit down, take it all in, IT'S GOING TO BE OKAY.
Yep, the Oscar nominations are in and, just like the Baftas and the Golden Globes, they're a bigger sausage party than the last supper. The Academy metaphorically propped our eyeballs open and covered them in steaming testosterone, just like that bit at the end of A Clockwork Orange, as we found out that basically no women were nominated for anything. Except for some category called Best Actress - absolutely full of them. No idea how that slipped through the net.
There were no women nominated in the directing, screenwriting, cinematography, original score, sound mixing or visual effects categories, and in a particularly manly year for films, every single Best Picture nomination centred around a male protagonist. Since the entire human species is made up of not only #NotAllMen but not JUST men, it seems particularly anachronistic that, in 2015, so many of our cinema-going experiences involve us watching our schlong-carrying earth partners doing things like maths and playing the drums and having existential crises. I'm not DELIBERATELY trying to shock you, but women do all of those things as well. But Hollywood's unwillingness to support and nurture female filmmakers feeds into the problem; if women can't make films, they won't be represented realistically in the films themselves - or even at all.
I'm not closing up the Hollywood drawbridge and declaring the quota of films about men full. I for one am counting down the days until the Ed Balls biopic. And I'm not saying none of the nominated films are good; I loved watching Michael Keaton in Birdman crumble in bewildered man pain as he struggled to understand why he wasn't rich and important any more. And even I can admit that it's easy to make films about men, because they got to do all the exciting stuff in history before we found out that women can do more than give birth and do cooking.
But these days women are even allowed to wear trousers and go outside, so it seems like it would be a good idea to have some films about them where they're not a) the emotional punch bags of tortured geniuses, b) waving their vaginas in men's faces or c) crying all the time. If women continue to be depicted as superfluous plot devices in men's lives in films, it becomes a lot easier to regard them as that way in real life. Our culture is still capable of subtly and quietly conditioning us; Hollywood has a responsibility to portray women who don't melt away into the background every time a man has to go and do something important.
Women haven't been underrepresented in Hollywood and pretty much every other area of public life for so long because men are actually just much more talented than them. But you can't be the change you don't see. We need role models in front of and behind the camera, who send out a message that women not only exist, but are as brilliant and flawed as the men who have been telling their stories for hundreds of years.