Should Oscar Voters Have to Pass This Reasonable Test?

The Academy Awards have garnered controversy in recent years over which films they aren’t nominating. Carey Mulligan and Emerald Fennell have some ideas about how the Academy should change. Here’s what they had to say about the Oscars.

Oscar statues at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, California | MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images

Carey Mulligan’s career so far

Even if you’ve never heard of Mulligan, you’ve heard of her films. She made a splash in Baz Luhrmann’s film version of The Great Gatsby. She’s starred in other popular films like Drive and Shame. According to Variety, she was impressed by the script of her newest film, Promising Young Woman.

Mulligan said “I’d never read anything like it. Reading it for the first time, sort of made me nervous in a really good way.” Promising Young Woman is a film by a female director, leading Mulligan to comment on the lack of female nominees at this year’s Oscars.

Several films by female directors were released in 2019 which were widely acclaimed. None of these films were nominated by the Academy, leading to allegations of sexism. Because of this, Mulligan wants the Academy to change how films are nominated.

How Carey Mulligan wants the Academy to change

Carey Mulligan has some ideas for the Oscars | Stephane Cardinale – Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

Mulligan said “I don’t think you can watch those films and not think they deserve recognition. I think they need to be watched. I wonder if the system works in terms of getting sent 100 screeners [films to be screened].”

Mulligan added “Maybe you shouldn’t be allowed to vote unless you can prove you’ve seen every single one. There should be a test. The films that did get left out are indisputably brilliant.”

Mulligan got more specific about which films she feels were snubbed. “I’m talking about Hustlers, Little Women, and The Farewell. I feel like the fact they are getting made is progress. But it’s all baby steps.” Here’s who directed those movies. Good Morning America reports Lorene Scafaria directed Hustlers, Greta Gerwig directed Little Women, and Lulu Wang directed The Farewell.

Mulligan’s comments seem prescient in regards to some admissions Oscar voters made. The Los Angeles Times says two Oscar voters who voted for 12 Years a Slave did not watch the film. However, they still voted for it to win Best Picture because of its weighty subject matter. Mulligan’s proposed rules would prevent blind voting.

A woman director offers her perspective

Emerald Fennell | Fred Duval/FilmMagic

Emerald Fennell is the director of Promising Young Woman. She was also the showrunner for the second season of Killing Eve. She has her own take on how the Academy should change. “The truth of it is getting sent 100 screeners.” Very few have the time to watch 100 films in preparation for the Oscars.

Fennell continued “It’s difficult to make sure people have seen everything.” She added “necessarily the way humans are, they prioritize things they are comfortable with or they think they’ll like. They’ll go with the established filmmakers.”

The Oscars have inspired numerous controversies. Perhaps the Academy will change their ways. Some in the film industry have ideas on how this can happen.