If 2017 was the year that fired women up, then 2018 is the year they finally take over. Just days after more than one million women took to the streets to protest inequality, sexism, and rape culture, the Academy announced the nominations for the 2018 Oscars; and, though seemingly everyone is gushing over The Shape of Water's impressive 13 nominations, there's one film that deserves more of your attention: Mudbound.
The Netflix original film nabbed four record-breaking Oscar nominations on Tuesday: Best Adapted Screenplay (Dee Rees), Best Original Song ("Mighty River" by Mary J. Blige), Best Supporting Actress for Blige, and Best Achievement in Cinematography for Rachel Morrison.
As Cosmopolitan notes, this is the first time ever that a Black woman has been nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay and that an actor has been nominated for a performance in a film directed by a Black woman. Additionally, Blige is the first person throughout the award show's history to be nominated for her performance and for an original song. This recognition will hopefully prove to Blige just how capable, worthy, and talented she is, despite her past reservations about wearing minimal makeup and being so emotionally vulnerable in front of the camera.
Who runs the world? You already know the answer to that one.
Mudbound is centered around the lives of Florence Jackson (Blige) and Laura McAllan (Carey Mulligan), two women who couldn't be more different, as they grapple with the challenges of living in the Jim Crow South. The story is as heartbreaking as it is illuminating about the United States' history of deep-seeded racism. Though set in the past, the blatant disrespect and micro-aggressions Jackson and her family are faced with on a daily basis seem hauntingly similar to those still endured by Black people in today's society.
The overall message is harrowing, and as Refinery29's Sesali Bowen wrote, the depictions of these two strong, yet incredibly different, women is familiar to current culture as their views of the world differ based upon race and class. Throughout the film, both women also feel the growing weight of a patriarchal society bearing down on their shoulders.
While these themes are still relevant today, the Academy's recognition of Mudbound and the intensive emotional and physical labor that went into creating the beautiful film is proof that slowly but surely, women are changing the cultural narrative.