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Making the Case for Lynne Ramsay in the Best Director Discussion

Making the Case for Lynne Ramsay in the Best Director Discussion

When I came back from the Toronto Film Festival and I was asked what the best movie I saw there at the top of my list was We Need to Talk About Kevin.

I just thought it was a really intense film about a very difficult subject and the actors, director and the whole team hit it out of the park. While “Kevin” has been on people’s radar screens for awards consideration, especially Tilda Swinton for her brave performance, the film hasn’t gotten the traction it needs (granted it hasn’t opened yet, but lots of the potential nominees have not opened yet.)

If there were still ten nominees for best picture I feel that Kevin would nab one of those, but we know that there is no guarantee that there will be ten. One of the consequences of the reduction in best picture nominees is that the smaller films some directed by women like last year’s Winter’s Bone will get left out of the discussion and that is a shame.

This morning I read that We Need to Talk About Kevin was named the best picture at the BFI London Film Festival. This is important news because it competed against films that are on the top of the pundits list for potential best picture nominees including The Artist and The Descendants. It also beat the winner of the Venice Film Festival, Faust.

But more importantly the committee led by director John Madden singled out Ramsey’s directing work saying: “We Need to Talk About Kevin is made with the kind of singular vision that links great directors across all the traditions of cinema.”

He also said that the jury members were ”united by a common sense of unflinching human enquiry…In the end, we were simply bowled over by one film, a sublime, uncompromising tale of the torment that can stand in the place of love.”

So isn’t it time to really talk about Lynne Ramsay and her work on this film in the same breathe as Alexander Payne and Bennett Miller? I checked out some of the pundits lists and Sasha Stone at Awards Daily has her at the bottom of the best director contenders but she’s really getting no love. Even last week a bunch of us women who talk about movies didn’t think that she was going to get onto the list.

So I ask is part of the problem what the movie is about? It’s about what happens to one woman — a mother — in the aftermath of a violent Columbine like rampage by her son. Is it that it is about a person’s ultimate nightmare that their child becomes a monster? Does that scare people too much? Oscar can handle violence – look at the reception to the Coen Brothers No Country for Old Men.

But this movie which is no picnic either is not getting the same support. Maybe it’s time for people to get over some of their shit about how we have to see women and mothers onscreen and embrace a film that pushes all the envelopes and really makes you think.

We Need to Talk About Kevin” wins London film prize (Reuters)

‘We Need to Talk About Kevin’ Named Best Film at BFI London Film Festival (Hollywood Reporter)

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