Oscar 2013 Nominations: Do they pass the Bechdel Test?

By Lauren Prince ‘14Editor-in-Chief

Hollywood is notoriously sexist. The Bechdel Test is a quick test for gender bias in film, television, or other works of fiction. When you see the rules, you’d think that it shouldn’t be hard to pass the test:

1. There must be two named female characters

2. Who talk to each other

3. About something besides a man

Les Miserables – Yes

Fantine talks to Cosette (albeit it’s a hallucinated Cosette, but it counts). Madame Thenardier also talks to both Cosette and Eponine.

Life of Pi – No

There is only one character, Pi, a boy.

Django Unchained – No

There are two named characters Broomhilda and Lara Lee Candie-Fitzwilly, but they do not speak to each other. Lara Lee gives Broomhilda commands, but they do not converse.

Amour – Yes

Eva speaks to her mother Anne in a few scenes.

Lincoln – No

There is only one named female character, Mrs. Lincoln.

Beasts of the Southern Wild – Yes, but barely

Hushpuppy and Miss Bathsheba have a short interaction after class one day where Miss Bathsheba asks if Hushpuppy needs a ride home.

Argo – Yes

There are two named female characters, but they barely have speaking roles. They talk to each other when they are cooped up in the Canadian embassy and plan an escape.

Zero Dark Thirty – Questionable

Maya and Jessica have a dinner in the coffee shop before it gets bombed. They are discussing strategy and politics—of how to kill Osama Bin Laden, a man.

Silver Linings Playbook – Yes

Tiffany and Veronica speak to each other at the dinner party about personal issues.

While it may look like half of these movies pass the test, everything but Silver Linings Playbook and Les Miserables passes with less than a minute of dialogue in a set of movies that are all over two hours long.

Hollywood, we have a long way to go.