#MeToo: Trend or Triumph?

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#MeToo has not gone away. However, you’d be forgiven for thinking that was the case, as it may appear that the rise of the movement has fallen into the past with the film industry barely acknowledging its presence in this year’s awards season in comparison to last year. No longer simply a feminist movement, #MeToo has ballooned in the public media and as a result is now used as a representation for accountability – but the film industry is currently failing at holding the correct people accountable for their actions. The Golden Globes last year saw women dressing in black to support the movement, with the majority of awards shows that season featuring numerous speeches advocating the movement and guests bringing activists to the event to walk the red carpets. The nominations themselves seemed to reflect a shift in the industry, with women and people of colour appearing to be receiving at least a portion of the recognition they deserved.

Instead, the nominations for this year’s round of awards seem to be an example of one step forward and two steps back. Whilst the Golden Globes this year have shown improvement in some way – namely and interestingly in the television categories – they also have shown some massively failings in awareness and ability to recognise the filmic achievements of women. As well as the complete absence of women from the directing category, women were few and far between when it came to the nominations for both the two most coveted awards shows: the Globes and the Oscars. There have been success for women in the film industry this year, with women-led films dominating the box office, women being given major industry opportunities such as Anna Boden directing Captain Marvel and films led by women (such as Widows, Annihilation and Ocean’s 8) all garnering widespread critical praise and, in some cases, huge box-office rewards.

However, all this success has been overshadowed by the praise given to undeserving, or at least, not-as-deserving men. The elephant in the room, Bryan Singer, was notably absent from the awards show in which his film Bohemian Rhapsody won Best Picture, the Globes. This can only be due to the repeated accusations for sexual assault on both adults and minors, a fact that has been in the public media for nearly three years. Singer was also fired from the production as he reportedly caused a hostile environment on set and failed to show up for work. How is it possible, then, in a year when films such as Leave no Trace, Mary Queen of Scots and Can You Ever Forgive Me, as well as the impeccable You Were Never Really Here, all directed by women, are snubbed to give recognition to a critically mediocre Hollywood biopic made by an accused offender.

It is not just awards shows where men with a history of (and in some cases are proven to be) offenders of sexual misconduct and abuse are still being acknowledged and praised. Roman Polanski, Woody Allen, James Franco, Casey Affleck, James Gunn have all been accused of crimes ranging from admitting to raping a child (Polanski) to tweeting rape jokes (Gunn), yet are still continuing to work and receive praise. It’s all good giving women a pat on the back now and then for their efforts, but with problematic men continuing to be recognised by the film industry, there is clearly still a long way to go before there is a semblance of accountability and equality is reached.

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