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« Soundtracking: 2018's Original Song nominees | Main | New Oscar Trivia, courtesy of this season's nominations »
Tuesday
Jan222019

The Best Picture race and the Bechdel Test. Thoughts?

What do these two talk about when they're not talking about T'Challa?We still have so much Oscar work ahead of us but this is a notice that the Best Picture Chart is now updated. You can vote (DAILY!) on which Best Picture you think should win the race and also check out various rankings of the movies by thing liks global success, running time, degree of horniness, how violent they are or aren't, and so on.

We can also discuss whether or not the movies pass the Bechdel Test. If you've been living under a rock all that test is (which should be easy to pass) is that a movie has to 1) have two female named characters who 2) talk to each other about something other than a man. That's it! Should be easy to pass but many many many films fail. Sadly only two of the Best Picture nominees are easy passes (The Favourite and Roma). But perhaps two more do as well. In Black Panther do the women discuss anything together besides T'Challa together? I think they do discuss the glories of Wakanda and possibly strategies for battle but I haven't seen the movie since February so perhaps I'm equating their fierceness with robust conversations? And in Vice do the Cheney women talk to each other about anything other than Dick? Perhaps they do discuss Mary's sexuality and Liz's political campaign? Or is that only a mom & dad conversation? My memory is a bit fuzzy on these details but perhaps yours isn't?

Anyway, enjoy the chart and the various lists. We love to list and we're just trying to keep ourselves, and you, entertained. Check it out and return to discuss.

Related Articles: 
• 12 things we learned from the noms • Adams vs Weisz, Round Two • Deep Cut Oscar Trivia • Mourning the Snubs • How to Stage the Original Songs • Nomination Index 

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Reader Comments (28)

bechdeltest.com indeed confirms that PANTHER passes. But it has no listing for VICE yet.

January 22, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterTravis C

Doesn't A STAR IS BORN pass? Ally and Gail?

January 22, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAlex

Random curiosity - all of the films besides The Favourite are between 130 and 136 minutes long. That seems odd to me, to have almost all the best picture nominees almost the exact same length. Is it?

January 22, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterOzzie T

I haven't seen Vice (I have zero desire to sit through the subject matter), so someone please tell me if it's strange that Amy Adams plays the mother to an actress only 10 years younger than her.

January 22, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterCash

N'yongo and Gurira definitely have many chats about Wakandan foreign policy, including one big memorable scene of discord.

January 22, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

@Cash - Amy Adams plays the character from early 20s to her mid-late 50s. They use age makeup.

I don't think Vice really passes. Isn't dick in the scenes when she discusses her daughter's coming out?

January 22, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJoe

Just want to say that nomination day always makes me very thankful for your content Nathaniel, almost 15 years now of being so engaged in analyzing movies through your unique perspective like these picture charts.

January 22, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterDean

Sometimes I completely forget basic things like the Bechdel test. In the foreign film category, Shoplifters definitely passes the test. There’s so many complex, moving female characters there.

One thing I’m even more interested is Every Single Word Said by a minority character based off that film blog. In A Star is Born, other than Shangela the cameo and Dave Chapelle the Magical Negro, I wonder if it passes the test. I can excuse The Favourite given the time period, but Emma Stone has been in so many movies without a drop of melanin since the god awful The Help.

January 23, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterbeyaccount

The Favourite could be a great musical. I see the fictional musical version of Dangerous Liaisons in season 2 of SMASH.

I actually think BlackKKlansman could make a good musical with a more traditional take on the material. Weirder musicals have been written.

January 23, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterchasm301

Oh wait, I forgot Emma had artificial melanin in Aloha, my bad.

January 23, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterbeyaccount

I think their might maybe be a scene in Green Book where the wives talk about something or other. Not sure.

BTW, the chart shows Roma as Unrated, but it actually is officially rated R for "graphic nudity, some disturbing images, and language." Also The Favourite is missing from that column.

January 23, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMJS

I can not believe they nominated that woman from Roma that « performance »  is so stiff and bad.....hopefully she won’t win ´cause if she does it’s gonna be Roberto Begnini take 2...and in 10 years they’ll be: « what were we thinking » ..... one of the worst nomination ever....

January 23, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterStjeans

I think there was a scene in Vice with Lynne talking to one of the daughters about something pretty logic’s related but I’m not sure.

Also am I the only one who liked Vice? Probably doesn’t deserve some of its Oscar noms as it is messy but I don’t understand the intense hate some people have for it. I say this as someone who wasn’t a Big Short fan.

January 23, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJ

politics related*

January 23, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJ

I like "Vice" too. For some reason it's cool to hate on it, but the truth is it's the audacious, ruthlessly confrontational, take-no-prisoners agitprop "BlacKkKlansman" was aiming for but largely failed to be.

January 23, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

Black Panther definitely passes. Shuri and Ramonda talk to Nikia about her becoming the new Black Panther. Nikia also talks to Shuri about her technology in another scene.

January 23, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterTom G

I agree Jonathan. Like I can see how not all of it works but there are some parts that are really effective.

January 23, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJ

When Alfonso Cuaron took part in the Oscar Game with "Gravity", he was the leader on nomination day with ten citations, but he had to tie with "American Hustle". Sounds familiar? The results were: seven Oscars for "Gravity", zero for "American Hustle". Is that a bad omen for "The Favourite" or what?

January 23, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterFrank JP

Ozzie T: Good spot, and yes, that is weird that they are all such a similar length!

January 23, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterEdward L.

I hate to be the one to do this but... does "Roma" actually pass the test? There's really not a lot of dialogue, and from my memory the nanny and her friend mainly talk about their dates while the nanny and the mother mainly talk about the husband?

Happy to be wrong here, by the way!

January 23, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJack

GLAAD and Mark Harris tweeted that is been a good year for LGBTQ-inclusive films at the Oscars. Why I don't feel it that way? Do you?

January 23, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

This was so much fun to read.

January 23, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterLyn

Prediction: Roma wins Best Picture, ratings are historically low (even though Black Panther and A Star is Born are nominees), and the Academy will again try to award "Most Popular Film" the next year. That year also has low ratings and Academy blames whichever host was hired that year.

January 23, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJames

I wonder if Roma passes the Bechdel Test as well. In what scene do the women talk to each other about anything but the men in their lives?

Stjeans - I sort of agree, but I'm not sure it's even her fault. The screenplay does not ask her to play a fully fleshed out character, though Gravity didn't really ask Bullock and Clooney to play fully fleshed out characters either and they managed to do something with the performances. That is the benefit of experience. Cuarón would benefit from working with a co-writer other than his son. But why would he? He receives so much praise for his work.

January 23, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

@Jack. Of course Roma passes, Cleo talks to the mother about everything from her pregnancy to cleaning shit off the driveway, she talks to the other maid about various aspects of her life, to the maid on the family trip about the history of the house, to her gynecologist about her health, etc. Did we see the same movie?

January 23, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMJS

I like to propose u all a game called "Replacement Oscars":

Which nominations do you change if you could?

Just name the movie and their nomination replacement. Go!

GREEN BOOK
Best Picture - to Leave no Trace
Original Screenplay - to The Rider
Editing - to Leave no Trace

A STAR IS BORN
Best Picture - to The Rider
Actress - to Charlize Theron (Tully)
Supporting Actor - to Nicholas Hoult (The Favourite)
Cinematography - to The Rider
Adapted Screenplay - to Leave no Trace

BLACK PANTHER
Original Score - to Fantastic Beasts 2
Production Design - to Fantastic Beasts 2
Sound Editing - to M:I Fallout
Sound Mixing - to M:I Fallout

BOHEMIAN RAPSODY
Best Picture - to If Beale Street Could Talk
Editing - If Beale Street Could Talk
Sound Editing - to Ready Player One
Sound Mixing - to Ready Player One

ROMA
Original Screenplay - to Tully
Supporting Actress - to Tilda Swinton (Suspiria)

BLACKKKLASMAN
Supporting Actor - to Alessandro Nivola (Disobedience)

VICE
Directing - to Debra Granik (Leave no Trace)
Makeup - to Suspiria

MARY POPPINS RETURNS
Song - to Suspirium (Suspiria)
Costume Design - If Beale Street Could Talk

CHRISTOPHER ROBIN
Visual Effects - to M:I Fallout

January 23, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSOSHUA

publish the same post on the 'one last hurrah...' post. if someone wanna play, let's go there.

January 23, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSOSHUA

Nathaniel, since you mention RT scores in your chart, here's another stat. If either Bohemian Rhapsody, Green Book or Vice win Best Picture this year, either of them would be the first Best Picture winner since Crash to have an RT score below 90% (yes, even Argo and The King's Speech have RT scores above 90%). And that was around the time Rotten Tomatoes was just starting to get strong. If there's any year that stat could break, it's this one (the year of the "Popular Film"), but it's something I tend to keep in mind (and given that RT, like the preferential ballot, are about reaching a consensus, it makes some sense)...

January 23, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRichter Scale

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