Many people on Twitter have expressed surprise, frustration and anger that Saoirse Ronan did not win the Oscar for best actress last night at the Academy Awards ceremony for her role as Jo March in Little Women. The Greta Gerwig directed film based on Louisa May Alcott’s beloved novel of the same name is a treat, especially for female viewers (SEE: Jan. 4, 2020, post). Jo is a strong, assertive female character. Therein lies the problem for AMPAS (Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences). Just as the Academy prefers black people playing maids, butlers or slaves it prefers women playing prostitutes or drug/alcohol addicts or women otherwise taking a beating from life. Ronan could not win because she played the type of woman female viewers are very interested in seeing on the big screen, the type of woman filmmakers rarely give viewers. Not only did she commit the Hollywood sin of playing a strong, assertive woman but she keeps re-offending. She keeps standing tall without the assistance of men—an unpardonable sin in Hollywood. She did it in Brooklyn (2016) and in Lady Bird (2018). She went so far as to play the strong and assertive leader of a country in Mary Queen of Scots (2018). Also, because Little Women revolves around the lives of women Gerwig did not stand a chance of winning the best director award. AMPAS is what it is. What this year’s winners for best actress and best director show is that it is still disinterested in strong women and women’s voices and stories.
© 2020 Alline Cormier