Carey Mulligan: The ‘Oscars So Bro’ problem is dudes just don’t watch the movies

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Carey Mulligan was at the Sundance Film Festival to promote Promising Young Woman, a revenge-fantasy film about a woman who “traps” men who intend to commit crimes on her body and then she gets her revenge on them… somehow. The trailer is a bit vague about that, but it looks like an interesting movie, and it was directed by a woman, Emerald Fennell. Carey chatted with Variety about her move to work with more female directors, and the state of Oscars So Bro, meaning… no women directors nominated for Oscars.

Carey Mulligan has made a conscious decision in recent years to collaborate with female directors, from Sarah Gavron (“Suffragette”) to Dee Rees (“Mudbound”). On Saturday night at the Sundance Film Festival, she’ll unveil “Promising Young Woman,” a thriller written and directed by Emerald Fennell, about a heroine out for revenge after experiencing a traumatic abuse.

“I’d never read anything like it,” Mulligan said during an interview at the Variety Studio at Sundance. “Reading it for the first time, sort of made me nervous in a really good way, in a way that makes me excited to be part of something.”

Fennell served as the showrunner for the second season of “Killing Eve,” and she’s making her debut as a movie director with “Promising Young Woman.” Mulligan was then asked about this year’s Academy Awards, which once again nominated five men in the best director category despite a banner year for films made by women.

“I don’t think you can watch those films and not think they deserve recognition,” Mulligan said. “I think they need to be watched. I wonder if the system works in terms of getting sent 100 screeners. 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 elaborated: “I’m talking about ‘Hustlers,’ ‘Little Women’ and ‘The Farewell.’ I feel like the fact that they are getting made is progress. But it’s all baby steps.”

[From Variety]

This is an argument made by Stephen King as well, that there’s no way to know if Oscar voters are actually watching all of the screeners or going to all of the screenings. As we saw a few months ago, there were significant complaints from producers that few Oscar voters (if any) were going to the Academy and HFPA screenings of Little Woman and Queen & Slim. So how can the nomination and voting process be “fair” if voters don’t even WATCH films starring women, directed by women, or telling stories with any kind of female narrative? Probably the same way those same bros vote in elections – they just pretend women don’t exist and vote for the most toxic bro. See: Smallhands, Donny.

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22 Responses to “Carey Mulligan: The ‘Oscars So Bro’ problem is dudes just don’t watch the movies”

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  1. Renee says:

    I saw the previews for Promising Young Woman in the movie I went to last week. It looks good and I really want to see it. It looks like a completely different role for Mulligan.

  2. Levans says:

    The trailer looks interesting, and Toxic playing in the background?! Sign me up to see it.

  3. WingKingdom says:

    Yes. Yes I will be seeing this movie. WOW

  4. tealily says:

    I don’t think it would be too much to require voters to watch all the films in whatever categories they choose to vote on. Anything less seems disingenuous.

  5. Scal says:

    I’m looking forward to seeing that movie. It looks like such a interesting premise.

    And yes-Oscar voters should have to see all the movies. Seems like white male rage is the only kind of high prestige movies that they pay attention to

  6. Case says:

    The trailer for Promising Young Woman was one of the most interesting and well-edited I’ve seen in a long time. I’m excited for it.

    And I agree, there should be some sort of process that makes voters prove they’re watching everything nominated. If they’re not up to the task of literally just watching movies (a dream to me!), they shouldn’t be in the Academy.

  7. Janiet says:

    Oh i can’t wait to this movie. I saw the trailer for it a couple of weeks ago and got very excited.

  8. Bookworm1858 says:

    Super excited for Promising Young Woman!

    Also, I would totally watch all 100 screeners I was sent if I was so lucky to get to see them! I made a point of seeing all 10 Golden Globe Best Picture nominees and I also saw the Oscar BP nominees (significant overlap with GG). Of course, I have no reason to be invited into the Academy but if an ordinary person who works two jobs a week can get out to theaters to watch 30-40 films a year (plus what I watch at home), I don’t see how hard it would be to watch when the films are delivered to you!

  9. mev says:

    Before getting too excited about this film, there are some tweets from someone who’s seen this film at a festival and the ending is…not good. Shame as the trailer looks so amazing!

    • StormsMama says:

      There are “some tweets” from “someone” and the ending is “not good”
      Ummm ok yeah thanks
      I’m still “too excited” but appreciate the super constructive and earnest criticism 🤣

      • mev says:

        Rather than spoil the ending for those that want to see it, I figured that I’d give enough info that those who wanted to know about any possible red flags could find out for themselves. Considering that it’s a film about sexual assault, yeah I do think that some people would appreciate a heads up about a potentially fucked up ending.

        But yeah, go off I guess 🙄 Next time I’ll put my quick comment through the full peer review process.

      • mev says:

        Slightly more helpfully, I actually found the tweets. Spoilers for anyone that wants them.

    • 2lazy4username says:

      Rotten Tomatoes already has about 40 reviews and a near 100% positive rating. Goes to show how subjective art is. Can’t wait to see it and decide for myself.

      • mev says:

        Of course, I don’t think anyone here is arguing that people can’t make their own minds up about the film? I’m sure you’ll love it

    • Redgrl says:

      @ mev – thanks for the warning – I read the tweets and this is a hard pass for me.

  10. Valiantly Varnished says:

    I love Carey. And she’s absolutely right. There should be something in place to make sure that the films are actually being watched. Most of these films are actively not being watched by the Academy dude bros.

  11. Green Desert says:

    The premise of this movie is super interesting, I can’t wait to see it!

    She’s absolutely right about the Academy voters needing to prove they’ve seen all of the screeners. I loved Mudbound (which she was in) from a few years ago and I think it ran into the same problems. And that had the added racial component. The Academy is just too old, too white, too male, too heterosexual, too out of touch.

  12. 2lazy4username says:

    This looks amazing. Already has nearly 100% positvie reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.

  13. Kristen says:

    I think it would make more sense to change the voting process than to make voters try and prove they’ve watched everything. It would honestly be better to have a smaller group of more dedicated people do the nominating and voting rather than sending ballots to Academy members.

  14. emily says:

    I think people need to start talking about the fact that the best director category is only decided by DGA (Directors Guild) branch, NOT the whole Academy.

    The directors guild branch is FULL of men. were talking a minuscule amount of women in comparison. Of course they don’t nominate/choose women to win. It’s a sausage fest in the DGA. As long as that’s the case, we’ll keep seeing only men get nominated for Best Director.

    My hope is that this Sunday’s oscar ceremony will be the lowest watched in history. These awards are so stupid & finally the rest of the world is noticing. I think the Internet has helped spread out the dialogue.

  15. Redgrl says:

    Emerald Fennell played Camilla on The Crown – did not know she was also a director.