Disability is usually the last identity category most people think of when collectively talking about enhancing diversity, equity and inclusion across an organization. After all, anyone can become disabled at any time. Disabilities are often invisible. Think about how many people you know who suffer from chronic illness, chronic pain, or learning and cognitive conditions. But even more invisible in the disability population are those experiencing mental health problems. Despite the fact that one in five of her adults in the United States experiences mental illness, it remains a silent and stigmatized subject.
last year when coda‘s Oscar reputation has grown, with many commentators criticizing the relative lack of films that accurately portray disability, the fact that even fewer of those films actually win awards, and who exactly I considered the long-standing question of whether it is possible to convey. such a story. Several films for the 2023 election feature protagonists with health problems. Most of them have some form of mental illness.but otherwise favermanssuggests rather than diagnoses Mitzi Faberman (Michelle Williams) with disability, and none of these films are strong contenders for best picture. Relatively few of the films nominated put mental health at the forefront.
Oscar voters clearly love good, harrowing performances that run the gamut between acting and catatonic, but they seem to be finding movies about mental health issues. Back in 1973, out of about 300 Best Picture nominees, only 20 to 25 of him explicitly addressed or satirized mental health crises and care. Additionally, many of these films exhibit rare or extreme psychological behaviors such as: Taxi driver, deer hunter When fatal charmOf the few nominees cited, only three actually won the top prize: 1975’s over the cuckoo’s nest, for a group of patients living in a mental health facility. 1980s ordinary people, about a depressed young man facing trauma in therapy.and in 2001 beautiful heartabout mathematicians with schizophrenia.
Contrast this with the exceptional number of Oscar acting nods in history given to performers who emphasize the stereotypical “descent into madness” archetype. women under the influenceJessica Lange Frances with Angelina Jolie girl, interrupted remind. (None of these films were nominated for Best Picture.) It’s not always easy for actors to embody the complexities of mental illness, but voters want these performances to be immersive, labor-intensive. It can be easy to perceive yourself as attractive and emotionally attractive.
But what kind of overarching story or complete viewing experience does it mean to the average Oscar voter? We tend to see them as “deserving of the best pictures”. Perhaps our society’s continued tendency to associate women with (undesirable) hysterical behavior is why movies about male vulnerability are seen as effectively “relatable” and, as a result, more and more , which may explain why it rises to best picture status. good will hunting, As good as it get, silver linings playbook, Manchester by the Sea, birth of a star When joker, all were nominated for Best Picture, just to name a few. In the same period, her only female-centric film about mental decline— black swan — Won Best Picture Award.
In fact, this year’s Oscar nominations may play out along historical lines, with mental health struggles defining acting categories but not other major categories. whaleAbout a depressed, agoraphobic man who struggles with obesity, is a powerhouse for Brendan Fraser, but is otherwise divided among viewers. Marilyn Monroe’s Ana de Armas is no different. blondeLike other depression-themed movies empire of light, son When Causeway Despite the acclaimed performances of Olivia Colman, Hugh Jackman, Jennifer Lawrence, Brian Tyree Henry and others, they have completely disappeared from their predecessors.
Perhaps the critical acclaim for Indie Darling after sun I implore voters to watch the film for more than Paul Mezcal’s masterful performance as a depressed single father doing his best to hide his inner state while on vacation. If you look, you may see looser themes of mental health. Inishelin’s BansheeBut given industry support for blockbusters like Avatar: Path of Water, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, All at once, anywhere When Top Gun: MaverickOscar voters may miss out on the complicated story for more uplifting fare.
This story first appeared in the January 18th issue of The Hollywood Reporter.Click here to subscribe.