This is a rant about why Widows (2018) directed by Steve McQueen deserves awards attention and why it being snubbed is frankly a crime against humanity. It has only made $39,040,682 in the month that is has been theaters and I don’t understand why. In this post I will outline the top three reasons why I believe Widows is one of the best films of the year. ‘
- Steve McQueen and Gillian Flynn:
It seems like a no brainer a film directed by Steve McQueen, the Academy Award director of 12 Years a Slave and written by author Gillian Flynn (author of Gone Girl, Sharp Objects and Dark Places) would be incredible. And it is? So where are the viewers! Gillian Flynn also wrote the screenplay for the film adaptation of Gone Girl (2014) which was directed by another very talented director, David Fincher. (Let me add Gone Girl was virtually ignored during awards season as well). One thing that separates Gillian Flynn from other authors is her ability to write both books and screenplays. Most directors just hire screenwriters but because her talent translates well into screenwriting she is able to do both. I’m shocked that there have been no directing nominations and best adapted screenplay nominations.
Widows’ ensemble cast is made up of actors such as Viola Davis (The Help), Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out), and Elizabeth Debicki (The Great Gatsby), who all work together to build the realistic and well developed network of characters involved in the narrative. With such a complex plot comprised of multiple storylines it is essential that the actors are skilled enough to show rather than tell. Therefore, with such nuanced and effective performances it is difficult to understand how almost every awards show is completely ignoring the multiple award-worthy talents in this movie.
Aside from its technical achievements of writing, directing, and acting, Widows is also impressive because of its seamlessly integrated representation. I was struck when watching it by how true to life it seemed in comparison to some movies which tend to crowbar in token characters of colour. Moreover, the fact that so many of these characters are women is even more impressive because it seems so hard for movies about women to be made at all, let alone movies about so many women of colour. Gillian Flynn’s unique writing lays the groundwork to enable Steve McQueen to work so successfully with these female characters in a way that is unusual for a male director to accomplish.