More than ever before, the Academy Awards are noticing the stories of women

Saoirse Ronan in "Brooklyn." (Fox Searchlight)

There’s a lot to dislike about the Oscars: their consistent trumpeting of mediocre biopics, a glaring lack of diversity, and weird commitment to letting John Travolta appear on stage. But the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences seems to be doing at least one thing right this year by acknowledging the stories of women in the Best Picture category. Three out of eight 2016 Best Picture nods went to films that feature a woman in a prominent way: Brooklyn, Room, and Mad Max: Fury Road. This hardly makes for staggering representation in the category, but it is an important departure from previous Best Picture lists, which heavily favored male-led films. Over the past 20 years, in fact, only 21 out of 125 Best Picture nominees have been carried by a female lead. So this year’s list of Best Picture contenders is cause for modest celebration—though we’ll save the champagne until a female-driven film actually takes home the prize.

The nominations for Best Actress have gone to Cate Blanchett (Carol), Brie Larson (Room), Jennifer Lawrence (Joy), Charlotte Rampling (45 Years) and Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn).

Nominated for Best Supporting Actress are Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight), Rooney Mara (Carol), Rachel McAdams (Spotlight), Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl) and Kate Winslet (Steve Jobs).

Read more at Slate.

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