Imbolc Potpourri

Brigid's cross on a field of snowdrops

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been feeling lighter in the past few weeks. I know shit is still pretty fucked up – pandemic, what feels like an agonizingly slow roll out of the vaccines to those of us at the back of the line, recession, continuing high unemployment, particularly for women and particularly PARTICULARLY for women of color, right-wing nutjobs running wild – and there’s a lot of damage to repair, but at least we’re being led by competent, empathetic adults, so we can get to work, and that gives me hope. What’s giving you hope these days?

(Also, the days are getting noticeably longer, which helps.)

Although I wasn’t able to leave town or go to my usual warm Caribbean location, I did still do my annual assessment and planning retreat for my business recently. Last year was BY FAR my worst full year in business since going out on my own going on nine years ago. I knew that going into my retreat, of course, but it was still hard to sit down and actually face the details. Now that was because, when I launched, my spouse and I agreed I would pay (and fully fund) my 401K first, so even if I was sacrificing take-home pay to the dream of being my own boss, I wouldn’t be sacrificing OUR retirement, and I have the reserves to more than cover it, but it was still sobering to see that red ink on my year-end management report from my accountant. As a type-A person who is used to pushing myself to succeed and then, you know, actually succeeding, it was a hard lesson for me to say “Last year was not successful, and THAT’S OK.” What hard lesson have you had to accept in the past year? What has it taught you?

I’m well known among my friends for making only fun New Year’s resolutions. I do keep a running list of ideas, and this year seemed like the perfect year for: I will see all the movies nominated in the major categories (director, picture, the acting awards, international, animated, documentary, screenplay) BEFORE the Oscar ceremony which, this year, is in late April.

Yes, that’s a LOT of movies – in the worst case scenario (little to no overlap, which is rare), we’re talking~60 movies.

But, one, it’s not like I have an otherwise full social calendar; and two, everything will certainly be available via one of the streaming services. Now, the Academy still isn’t going to announce the nominees until mid-March, about six weeks out from the ceremony, but insiders are already speculating about likely nominees, which means I can get a BIG head start, so I won’t be facing trying to watch ~60 movies in ~40 days.

And I have been, starting with the movies everyone is handicapping for Best Picture and Best Director. I’m ten movies in (some likely candidates are not available yet), and WHOA, IS IT A LOT OF DUDES. Mank. Da 5 Bloods. One Night in Miami. Soul of Metal. The Trial of the Chicago Seven. Even Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is mostly about Chadwick Boseman’s character, not Viola Davis playing Ma Rainey.

Good movies, all (well, not Da 5 Bloods, but the rest), but where the hell are all the ladies?

So I started looking into the movies that are likely to be up for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress. And I realized something. If you want to be up for Best Picture or Best Director, it looks like you better be telling men’s stories, because the juicy acting roles for women don’t make it. So yeah, #OscarsSoWhite (although decreasingly so), but also #OscarsSoMale, and sadly, we don’t seem to be making much progress there.

Image found here.

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One response to “Imbolc Potpourri

  1. You’re the first person I’ve come across to mention that about Ma Rainey’s BBB’s … it really bugged me that both women were reduced to background noise, for the most part, in a series of monologues about how tough the men’s life was.

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