Was Carol snubbed by the Oscars? 

As the diversity debate rages on, we need to account for the snubs given to gender and sexual orientation

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By Caroline O'Donoghue on

The word of the day, as far as the Oscars are concerned, is "snub". Ever since the nominations were announced last month, there has been talk of who has been left out of the conversation. The overwhelming whiteness of every actor category has drawn major headlines, and a mass boycott may be in the works. Yet race isn't the only topic emerging from the snub conversation: gender and orientation may be under fire too. 

While Carol was nominated for six Academy Awards, it failed to be shortlisted for Best Picture or Best Director. Despite rapturous critical praise and a solid commercial outing (earning roughly $18 million more than the Best Picture nominated Room) Carol's absence is slightly mystifying. You'd be forgiven for thinking that a story that focuses entirely on female sexuality and quickly dismisses its dithering male characters doesn't really appeal to a male-dominated academy.  Producer Elizabeth Karlsen told Sky News: "Clearly there is an issue here that needs to be addressed. I think the Academy has tackled it head on and has acted very quickly and hopefully change will come about and we will see greater diversity in terms of gender, sexual and racial representation." 

Of course, Karlsen is used to overcoming sexist barriers within the film industry. Speaking at The Pool's screening of Carol back in November, Karlsen told a stunned audience the complex story of her work on Made in Dagenham. The film, which focuses on the equal pay strike in Dagenham in 1968, was given a 15 rating by the BBFC for "strong language". The Social Network, which came out the same year, was given a 12 rating for "strong language and drug use". This is Karlsen's prime example for the sexism that pervades the movie industry: that male swearing and female swearing were two horses of entirely different colours, the latter deemed more offensive than the former. 

Whether or not Carol indeed suffered a snub at this year's Oscars is anyone's to debate, but it's voices like Karlsen's – an accomplished female producer – that need to be listened to as the diversity conversation continues.  


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women in film

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