The powerhouse nominees for the 2019 Golden Globe Awards have me in awe. In a few days, we’ll finally be able to find out who will prevail and the women have pretty strong chances of winning. While a new study shows that female-led movies perform better in the box office, it can also be evident (as with last year’s offers) that they also carry strong influence and power in terms of story. So as the Golden Globes presents us with a culturally diverse set of nominees, we can’t help but notice the abundance of female-led movies in the roster. This alone tells us that the women have already won at the Golden Globes.
2018 was an iconic year for women. While the #MeToo Movement began its viral spread in 2017, more women have come about to share their experiences and fight against sexual harassment in various industries. The same year, movements towards gender equality have also been stronger, especially in the film industry. It can be remembered that 2018 Academy Awards Best Actress Frances McDormand did a compelling speech about inclusion in the film industry.
In her speech, McDormand invited her co-nominees to stand up and with those ladies, the winner left everyone two words that kickstarted the very necessary change in the Hollywood movie ecosystem: “Inclusion Rider”. This is a provision for a diverse staff and casting in Hollywood productions. Actors or staff shall include a certain proportion of women, people of color, LGBT people or people with disabilities. This was a quarter into 2018 and a lot of film productions didn’t fail to deliver us more diverse big screen offers throughout the rest of the year. Women, for one, have been leading the pack.
While we’re on the topic of diversity in film, Crazy Rich Asians (a film adaptation of Kevin Kwan’s novel of the same title) should be the first in mention. It’s an understatement to call it a game-changer. The movie boasts an all-Asian cast and an Asian-American lead in 25 years; after The Joy Luck Club in 1993. In a sea of superhero movies, action, and thrillers, the movie rose in the box office and grossed $238 million, a stark difference from its $30 million budget. This made the movie the highest-grossing romantic comedy of the last 10 years, and the 6th-highest-grossing ever. While the numbers can’t lie, the performances of the actresses in the movie are worth mentioning too. Constance Wu portrayed a strong ABC (American-Born Chinese) in the film, playing alongside Michelle Yeoh as Eleanor Young—the authoritative dragon-lady with a surprising vulnerability, a performance that received a widespread positive review from critics worldwide.
What are the chances that the award-giving body will prefer one that’s within their scope and industry? It could be in the emotional impact of a story about the rise and fall of a superstar. A Star Is Born for one, with its compelling story and poignant turn, left everyone (and I mean every single person in the cinema) with a formidable heart and most probably tear-filled eyes. The movie alone showed a lady’s rise in a cruel industry where fame has an unknown expiration date. While it’s only a part of the plot, the rest of the story is gripping enough to call for a Best Picture nomination.
Moonlight director Barry Jenkins has also presented another moving piece from James Baldwin’s novel If Beale Street Could Talk. The movie revolves around the story of a woman, pregnant with her child, doing all she can to prove the innocence of her fiancé and trusting love all the way in hopes to free the man before their child is born. Jenkins is not a rookie in the awards arena with Moonlight winning left and right with its release in 2016. To reclaim the throne for Best Motion Picture in Drama will not be so surprising as well.
While we still haven’t been blessed to see these movies in the big screen, The Favourite and Mary Poppins Returns hold high standards of what fun could be, yet they lie on different places within the spectrum of such genre. Emily Blunt completely mastered the portrayal of everyone’s favorite nanny—probably the only one that isn’t out to kill anybody, too. The movie promises a magical journey that would change the lives of a child forever and brings back the nostalgic feeling of childhood to the adults. Not to mention, Meryl Streep has a participation in the sequel of the eponymous film.
The ladies of The Favourite, while they display dark humor throughout the beginning (Olivia Colman especially as the frail, volatile queen), completely flushes a man’s role down the drain with their dominance. With each character posing a different virtue from one another, this dark comedy would completely immerse you in a tale about power and perhaps a one-of-a-kind bond. If any movie is given a guaranteed pass on a Bechdel Test, this will be first in line, with flying colors.
All these movies have strong cases on why they should win the best picture in drama, comedy, and/or musical. But all these reasons only show that a trophy isn’t needed to validate the greatness of each film. If anything, it’s just another award for them to add to their successes. Representation, recognition, and an audience that believes in the message they wish to communicate are all a part of the many achievements on their list.