Lately I’ve become more and more frustrated with the various “best ever” lists that have been released because they rarely feature films by women, or if they do it’s usually one or two films. I think this is more a reflection of those who are polled for these kinds of lists, as well as a compounding of history on itself. For so long films by men have made up the bulk of the film canon and I think people are afraid to add new films to these revered lists. I also think many people haven’t seen very many films by women, or if they have it’s always the same handful of films. In an attempt to create a better, more inclusive list of great films by women, I polled over 500 critics, filmmakers, bloggers, historians, professors and casual film viewers, asking them to tell me what films directed (or co-directed) by women are essential viewing. Some people only responded with as little as five votes, others submitted hundreds of films. In the end, I received over 7,000 votes for 1,100+ different films. After tallying up this data, with ties factored in, I then had a list of 103 essential films directed by women.
2006 is one of my least favorite Oscar years in the last decade. Mostly because I think Children of Men was the best film to come out that year and although it got a few tech nominations, I think it deserved a Best Picture nod over several of the nominees that year. That’s why I’ve waited so long to write about this year. As it happens, I don’t love any of the nominees from 2006 (and actively dislike one of them, in fact.) But I do like Little Miss Sunshine, thus I am writing about it. I think this film is more about the performances than it is the story. I mean, it has a fun story, but it is weak in more places than people like to mention. The performances, however, I think are flawless. Although, I guess the Academy disagrees with me because it won for its screenplay. Go figure. The film was nominated for four Academy Awards, winning two: Best Original Screenplay (won), Best Supporting Actor Alan Arkin (won), Best Supporting Actress Abigail Breslin, Best Picture. The other films nominated for Best Picture that year were: Babel, Letters From Iwo Jima, The Queen and winner The Departed.