There's something quite atypical about the nomination slate for the 90th Academy Awards. This year, there's significant overlap between the nominees for Best Picture and Best Actress. Lady Bird and its star, Saorise Ronan, were nominated. The Shape of Water and its star, Sally Hawkins, were nominated. Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri and its star, Frances McDormand, were nominated.
If any of those movies win Best Picture on March 4, then they'll join very small pool of Best Picture-winning movies whose stories center on women. Of the 89 past Best Picture winners, we counted only 16 movies in which women characters take the spotlight. What gives? Likely, for most of Hollywood's history, the most prestigious directors simply weren't making stories about women. Or, the voting members of the Academy, which have historically been majority white and male, simply didn't prioritize women's stories.
Hopefully, this year's overlap marks a step in a more equitable direction, in which stories about women are valued as Best Picture-worthy, too.