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Women in Cinema: 10 Women Oscar Voters Can Write Down Outside of Acting

If Beale Street Could Talk

As the Oscars loom on the horizon, guilds and precursors are wittling down more than 300 films to a chosen few dozen. But there are still a few days left for voters to ponder their ballots, watch a last-minute screener or two, and prepare to make some history.

Today, we look at ten women that Academy members should write down. We are looking past the acting categories and directing, which has all been narrowed to a handful. Instead, we are going deeper, into other categories where women have made a huge impact on cinema in 2018. Some already have nominations to their names, while others are looking for their first.

Here are ten women to consider as voters prepare to send in those ballots. This is not a ranked list. It is alphabetical by category.

Cinematography: Charlotte Bruus Christensen
“A Quiet Place”
dir. John Krasinski

A Quiet Place 2 Paramount Pictures

Last year, Rachel Morrison made history as the first woman ever nominated for an Oscar for cinematography. This year, as “A Quiet Place” took theaters by storm, the film earned praise for casting, score, and its sound design. Many also praised the stunning visuals, the use of those creepy red lights, and the stunning photography during that birth scene. Cinematographer Charlotte Bruus Christensen was the woman behind the camera, capturing perfect images and helping deliver an overall thrilling experience.

Costume Design: Marci Rodgers
dir. Spike Lee

Blackkklansman JDW and LH

For costume designer Marci Rodgers, it was easy to say yes to working on a Spike Lee joint like “BlacKkKlansman.” Rodgers dove deep into the world of the 1970s, paying particular attention to the fashion of middle America, as opposed to what popular on the coasts. Rodgers also forced herself to sit down and pour through hours of footage of KKK rallies, protests, and more to ensure an authentic look. The result was a portrait of the 70s we don’t often see on screen. It’s fun to look at big, fluffy ball gowns from centuries ago. But when was the last time you feasted your eyes on a blue denim leisure suit?

Documentary Feature: Betsy West and Julie Cohen

film1820 rbg

In a year of great documentaries, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg stands out as a fascinating figure. Betsy West and Julie Cohen‘s doc feature, “RBG,” paints a portrait of Ginsberg the Justice, the warrior, and the woman. A perfect companion piece to this year’s narrative, “On the Basis of Sex,” audiences have learned more about Justice Ginsberg in 2018 than they have in the 25 years she has sat on the bench of the US Supreme Court.

Editing: Jennifer Lilly
“Eighth Grade”
dir. Bo Burnham

Eighth Grade 3

Few films have captured the horror and fascination of early teenage life quite like Bo Burnham’s “Eighth Grade.” Following Kayla (Elsie Fisher), through the trials and tribulations of her last year before high school, Jennifer Lilly helps bring director Bo Burnham’s vision to life. From an uncomfortable pool party to Kayla’s lonely moments hiding in her bedroom, Lilly keeps the pace moving. She never rushes through anything, and never dwells too long either. This is a film that is well cut together and deserves recognition for that.

Editing: Joi McMillon
“If Beale Street Could Talk”
dir. Barry Jenkins

if beale street could talk 3 2000

Another masterfully edited film is “If Beale Street Could Talk” from director Barry Jenkins. Joi McMillon earned an Oscar nomination for their last collaboration, “Moonlight.” The two clearly have great communication together. McMillon weaves together images beautifully, playing with time and place with such great effect that it is easy to get caught up in just how pretty it all is. “If Beale Street Could Talk” has been unfairly ignored this awards season, but the Academy still has time to recognize this perfection.

Makeup & Hairstyling: Jenny Shircore
“Mary Queen of Scots”
dir. Josie Rourke

margotrobbie maryqueenofscots

Jenny Shircore won an Oscar for her makeup design on another film about British royals with “Elizabeth.” But she returned nearly twenty years later when she realized she would have an opportunity to create an entirely different look for Queen Elizabeth I at a much different time in her life. Crafting Elizabeth’s illness and the subsequent damage in “Mary Queen of Scots,” it inflicted helped actress Margot Robbie step into the role with a new perspective; that of a woman isolated by her position, holding on to every bit of confidence and power she could.

Original Screenplay: Elizabeth Chomko
“What They Had”
dir. Elizabeth Chomko

What They Had Blythe Danner Hillary Swank

Alzheimer’s Disease becomes all too real in “What They Had,” a film from Elizabeth Chomko, who makes her feature debut. Inspired by experiences from her own family, Chomko explores the devastating effects Alzheimer’s and dementia have on families and the heart-wrenching decisions that must be made when the time comes for children to start parenting their parents. Chomko’s script is so rich and alive with the kinds of conversations that happen in homes across the country every day. Lovely, sad, and hopeful, “What They Had” is a powerful experience.

Original Song: Diane Warren
“I’ll Fight” from “RBG”
dir. Betsy West and Julie Cohen

la et mn rbg documentary review 20180503

Another category that should earn a nomination for “RBG” is in Original Song. Nine-time nominee Diane Warren penned “I’ll Fight” as an anthem dedicated to the woman who has never stopped fighting for all of us. With powerful lyrics, a strong melody, and roaring vocals from Jennifer Hudson, this is a song that resonates and should earn Warren her tenth nomination.

Production Design: Fiona Crombie
“The Favourite”
dir. Yorgos Lanthimos

The Favourite Party

Although “The Favourite” was filmed in an old castle, there are rooms and passageways that didn’t exist in that structure. Production designer Fiona Crombie created an entire behind-the-scenes world for Queen Anne’s court. And in addition to designing and creating new places, the entire castle had been stripped of all its trappings. This gave Crombie the chance to develop Hatfield House into exactly what director Yorgos Lanthimos needed for this bawdy tale.

Sound Editing: Renee Tondelli
“Mary Poppins Returns”
dir. Rob Marshall

Mary Poppins Returns Animated

As with many film crafts, sound is an area where very few women run their departments. But for sound editor Renee Tondelli, she uses her role to develop new talent. She is also very good at her craft, creating a whole new world of sound experience. For “Mary Poppins Returns,” her proudest work came in the form of developing the sound for the animated sequence in which Mary, Jack, and the Banks children jump into a Royal Doulton bowl for another adventure. Creating the sound of walking through a ceramic park was something new and exciting. And is one of the more brilliant moments in this immersive film.

Who are some women you would like the Academy to consider as they complete their Oscar ballots? Comment below and share!

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Written by Karen M. Peterson

Karen Peterson is a writer from Southern California. When she is not at the ballpark cheering on her LA Angels, she can usually be found in a movie theater or in front of the television. Karen is obsessed with awards shows, and loves everything from the smallest indie film to the biggest of big budget spectacles. She is also unapologetically in love with Tom Cruise.


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