I love movies. I’ve always loved movies. And I love watching the Academy Awards. Chad and I try to do something special every year, whether attend a friend’s Oscar party, go out to a party, or host our own. This is the second year in a row we’ll be hosting our own, complete with ballots for all our friends to fill out.

We also try to see as many nominated films as possible. I know that by doing this,  to a certain extent I’m letting Hollywood dictate what movies I see, but I’m a student of film, and every movie I see, is valuable to me. I may not have chosen to see “Birdman” or “American Sniper” or “Foxcatcher” myself, but since they were nominated, I did, and that’s okay with me. Because these are all great movies, in their techniques and writing and acting and all that goes on beyond just “did I like it?”

And I admit, I was a bit disappointed with the nominees this year. They are, for the most part, a list of films dominated by men, and not a diverse crowd of men at that. And that’s very sad to me.  I want to see more women recognized for directing. I want to see more Best Picture nominees centered around women who are real and strong. I don’t want to wonder if these stories about women are sidelined because they are centered on a female character.

This year, for the second year, The Representation Project is using #AskHerMore to try and make a difference during red carpet pre-shows. On the red carpet, actresses are more often asked about their wardrobe and how long it took them to get ready than their male counterparts. But we want, and we need, to hear these women’s perspectives about their characters, their challenges while writing/directing/acting, what was most exciting about this project, what they hope to achieve, and what they’ve learned. 

We already know these women are beautiful and they get to wear amazing gowns. So go deeper. Let’s talk about their ambitions, their achievements, their talent, their challenges. Let’s talk about the magic of storytelling, of art, of creating. Let’s talk about the truth and beauty and experiences that these movies bring out. There are films nominated tonight about war and the horror of killing, about racism and civil rights, about motivation, inspiration, genius, achievement, love. They are stories of marriage and family– functional and dysfunctional. They are stories about forgetting and remembering, about finding your true self and becoming someone better.

My screenwriting professor in college always told us that movies are about truth. And sometimes truth is painful or ugly or horrifying, and sometimes truth is compassionate and beautiful and lovely. But truth is always deep and real, just like life, like people. 

Movies are magic to me. And although I wasn’t excited about some of the nominees this year, and I was disappointed I didn’t see more female representation on screen or behind it, I saw a lot of good stories, and a lot of truth. And I want to see that on the red carpet as well.  I’m excited to hear about the characters and the people that portrayed them, about the stories and what inspired the writers and directors, about the hard work and what came out of it. I want to hear about the magic, not the dresses. I want to hear about all those reasons that I love going to the movies.

So tonight I’ll be enjoying the evening with my friends, casting our own ballots and celebrating great storytelling. I can’t wait for it to start.

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