The Filmmaker's Guide to an Oscar: Dress the Part, or Lose the Prize

February 4, 2015 2:26 PM

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Three days before Christmas this year, I opened the Times and I had to laugh. It was an incredulous laugh, more than anything else. In an article titled "Angelina Jolie's Fashion Campaign for an Oscar", NYT fashion critic Vanessa Friedman gives us a lengthy account of Angelina Jolie's fashion choices in the wake of the Academy Awards. For those of you who don't know, Angelina Jolie directed a film this year. A film based on a very brilliant book titled Unbroken, which was also written by a woman (Laura Hillenbrand, who also penned Seabiscuit.) It's no secret that it is very difficult for a woman--any woman--to secure a directing job in our beloved Hollywood (see the proof here.) Unbroken, in particular, was a big project by Hollywood standards, with big-time interest from big-name directors. Which made Jolie's involvement even more noteworthy. Whether you liked the film or not isn't the point (I for one, was so blown away by the book that I went into it knowing that nothing could compare). The point is this: how, in a world where it is immensely difficult for women to be taken seriously, and an actor-turned-director in particular, does an article written by a woman about what Angelina Jolie is wearing while "campaigning" for an Oscar even exist?

Friedman writes, "perhaps more meaningful (than the buzz around her film) is the way Ms. Jolie has been shaping her image in pursuit of her goal, edging it from look-at-me stardom to self-effacing behind-the-scenes-dom." I get it. I really do. It is Friedman's job to focus on these things. But do we...

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