Monday, 8 March 2010

The Women and the Oscars

Posted by Tania Kindersley.

'59-year-old woman wins prize' might not sound fabulously exciting, but when you consider it is Kathryn Bigelow being the first female to get a Best Director Oscar ever, it takes on a whole new meaning. It seems a marvellous and fitting thing to happen on the eve of International Women's Day. Hurrah for the Ladies.

It's not just that no woman has ever won for direction before, it's that there hardly are any women, directing. Women make up 7% of directors in Hollywood, and 23% of producers. There is something entirely bizarre about this. One of the things the Right in America loves to bang on about is those pesky latte-drinking arugula-eating com-symp peacenik Obama-lovin' coming-to-get-your-guns Hollywood types, who have no idea what the Real America is all about. They are liberal elites, who sit smugly on the coast, dreaming of a socialist paradise, the lefty bastards. They are all about political correctness and huge government. Except, oddly, when it comes to the ladies, and then it's all back-to-the-kitchen 1950s retro madness. So that's just one more thing I do not quite understand.

What made me especially happy about Bigelow is that she is not just a women, but a women of a certain age. When Hollywood is not dreaming of Karl Marx, it occupies itself by indulging in a blatant youth fetish, which is why everyone has plastic surgeons on speed dial. I am not much for red carpets, but I did enjoy looking at pictures of the mature females beating the hell out of the babies in the style and elegance stakes.

My photograph of the day is of Sigourney Weaver, Helen Mirren, Kathryn Bigelow and Meryl Streep, showing how it should be done:

The older generation at the Oscars

And for extra loveliness, I salute Susan Geston, the wife of Jeff Bridges, who not only has managed to stay married for 33 years, which must be a record in California, but looks utterly glorious without appearing to have had any plastic surgery at all:


Oh, and one more, of the Firths, just because I think they exemplify dignity and class in the red carpet zoo:


I really am going to stop now, but I can't resist a final snap of Sandra Bullock, who had the grace and moxy to turn up to collect her Worst Actress award the night before she got her Best Actress award, and made jokes about it:

Sandra Bullock at the 2010 Oscars

Happy International Women's Day.


  1. What a fantastic and inspiring post. Hurrah for us over-forties, too long forgotten and now finally in the spotlight. It's been a long time coming.

  2. Another great thing about Livia Firth

    I love her. I also thought Helen Mirren looked utterly fabulous and elegant and in no way like she was bowing to ideas of what women of "a certain age" should wear.

  3. Hear, hear. I could not agree with you more. You made me feel good even in the thick of a late winter/early spring cold.

    Helena xx

  4. So pleased that Bigelow won the Oscar and hooray for Hollywood's over-forties! They all look fantastic, very inspirational.

  5. I learned today that when Bette Davis was three years younger than Meryl Streep is now, the only part she could get was in "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?" Not to knock that classic, but...very happy times have changed. Rather, are gradually changing.

  6. Could not have said better myself! :-)

  7. This warmed my soul yesterday morning - and on International Woman's's up to us to keep up the momentum. Bird x

  8. it's just so bizarre that a woman hadn't won before- the oscar voters are a strange Victorian bunch who seem to congratulate themselves on being about 100 years behind the times.

    I thought the older ladies looked so much better than the younger ones this year- especially Sigourney Weaver and Meryl Streep. Livia Firth seems very cool about everything- and Colin Firth has picked up a lot from the delectable Tom Ford (Tom clearly being the best dressed on the night)

    I like Sandra Bullock even though she makes some awful films, she's always good and she is in some of most favourite filmic guilty pleasures.


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