We here at Cosmopolitan are absolutely obsessed with movies, but we get that you’re a busy person and it’s hard to see all the films that are going to be “important” in any given year. In this series, Low-Key Highbrow, we’re giving you the basic gist on every one of those pictures you probably should have seen but never got around to. When your friend inevitably throws that Oscars watch party, we’re here to help you scam your way into sounding like the smartest person in the room.
Of all the movies nominated for Best Picture this year, Little Women is the only one that’s fully about women. If you’ve made it this far in your life without reading the book or watching the movie(s), here’s the deal: Four sisters growing up in Civil War–era Massachusetts navigate their teen and early adult years, trying to figure out how to create art and get married and be parents and generally just survive life in the 1800s. This adaptation of the film stars Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Eliza Scanlen, and Florence Pugh as the March sisters. I rewatch the trailer at least once a week because it is a goddamn work of art.
The movie came out on Christmas Day, and considering that people have adapted this book four times already, it’s pretty impressive that the reviews were as positive as they were. The film has lots of awards season mainstays (Saoirse has been nominated for four Oscars and she’s 25, and there’s Meryl f*cking Streep), so the buzz has been there since the beginning. Greta Gerwig, who you might know as the brain behind Lady Bird, wrote and directed the film.
I saw it twice and was struck by how fresh and new the movie felt considering the subject material is, like, a million years old. I’m also not afraid to admit I sobbed openly for about half of it. Also, Greta (yes, we are on a first-name basis) wrote the movie so that two separate timelines run concurrently, which is a whole new approach to telling this story. It was one of my favorite movies of 2019 because it hit me right in the feels but also because I could relate to the sisters’ struggles even hundreds of years after the book was published.
Greta didn’t earn a Best Director nomination, which many people thought was a snub, but Little Women earned six total Oscar nominations. It’s up for Best Picture. Here’s what people will be saying if it wins.
Why people would be pumped if it won:
- As Saoirse/Jo herself says in the film...women. In all seriousness, the fact that this movie is written by, directed by, and brought to life by women is a big deal. Most Best Picture winners are dude heavy, historically. Almost the entire lineup this year is made up of male-driven dramas. Women make up half of the planet, and in my humble opinion, they should make up AT LEAST half of the Best Picture noms. That’s just math.
- This movie is an instant classic. Not to be all cheesy about it, but I walked out of the theater thinking, I’m showing that movie to my kids someday. Shouldn’t that be exactly the kind of movie that should win Best Picture? Plus, the actors in this movie, particularly Saoirse Ronan, Timothée Chalamet, and Florence Pugh, are very much still at the beginning of what will be exciting careers, which means the film will probably age well.
- It’s a super wholesome and pure movie that’ll make you feel warm and fuzzy on the inside. The other Best Picture noms cover war, gangs, divorce, and villains, so recognizing a movie that is so positive would be a nice contradiction to how all of 2020 has been so far.
Why people would be pissed if it won:
- Uhh...IDK, sexism?? When Little Women was first screening for critics and Academy voters, sources told Vanity Fair that the vast majority of the audience at every screening was female. That’s a problem because the majority of Academy members are male. In that VF story, Tracy Letts, who plays Mr. Dashwood in the film, said, “I just can’t believe we’re still having this f*cking discussion where movies by men and about men and for men are considered default movies. And women’s movies fall into this separate and unequal category. It’s absurd.” So it’s possible that if Little Women wins, there will be a chunk of male humans who would be mad about that??? But they get literally everything else in this world, so I think they can calm down.
- Some people felt the two-timelines structure was confusing and hard to follow. I can see how, if you haven’t read the book, that could be true.
- While this movie is about women, every character in the film is white. Sure, some of the themes are universal, but critics have fairly pointed out that this story isn’t for *all* women.
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