Anyone who reads us knows I’m hopelessly biased about Saoirse Ronan. But with good reason - she’s charming, smart, and frequently makes amazing red carpet choices. In 2016 I called her Oscar dress ‘satisfying’, and I’m still really happy with that word choice.
Then on top of that she’s a skillful, versatile actress who’s been nominated for 3 Oscars, 4 BAFTA s, 4 Golden Globes (including one win)… guys she’s twenty-five. She knows how to play the awards season game, gives a lot in the press, keeps it fresh and surprising. But something feels different this time, and I’m trying to decide if it’s because the reaction to Little Women is different than the reaction to Brooklyn and Lady Bird – or because it’s exactly the same.
Men won’t go to see Little Women because they think it’s not for them. Voting members of the various academies, therefore, can’t or won’t vote for it. That’s the narrative we’ve been hearing almost before the movie came out– despite being the best-ever filmed version of the beloved story and a massive triumph for director Greta Gerwig, men are shrugging it off as a movie for girls’ nights and sleepovers, rather than an obvious awards contender.
Saoirse was its sole representative (on the ballot) at the Globes tonight, and it was shut out of the SAG Awards altogether. Which is especially insulting because she is incredible as Jo. Great cast overall, but nobody could argue that she carries that movie… and yet, no love.
I always forget, and always get a little thrill, when Lainey reminds me, that the Globes happen before voting for Oscars closes. So the Globes can affect people’s voting choices. If voters fell in love with Ronan on the carpet tonight, they might be more inclined to see the film before voting closes.
But Saoirse didn’t speak to a lot of outlets on the carpet. She didn’t give a lot of dazzling smiles. She looked great, but there’s reserve in her face, right? She’s not giving you all that much - and I have a conspiracy theory about why.
Little Women is ghettoized as a ‘girls and women’s’ movie, precisely and exactly the way Lady Bird was. Remember? “I mean, it was a good movie, but it shouldn’t be in contention for an Oscar.” “It’s a fine movie, but it’s not like… you know, important.” We heard refrains like that constantly, as if movies like Boyhood and Rushmore hadn’t been exactly the same except that critics and academy voters fawned over them for decades.
Greta and Saoirse, true partners, kept talking about its importance and truth anyway, and it resonated so much that they got to make another, much bigger movie! They did it! They won… only to run into the exact same attitudes, again. How infuriating that their past success doesn’t make people look at their work differently. How disgusted must they be that they’re being asked to prove they deserve to be here, again? How many more interviews are en route where they say that appealing to women shouldn’t be a goddamn pejorative?
I wonder if Saoirse’s just not playing this time. ‘You’re not gonna see the film? You don’t think we’re good enough? Fine. But I’m not gonna charm and giggle and dazzle and beg for your approval. You don’t get the full effect of my charisma. You don’t deserve it.’
BAFTA nominations come out tomorrow, Oscar noms on January 13th. It’s gonna be a very, very interesting couple of weeks.