Nominated movies 2014

Quiz: Which Oscar-Nominated Movies Most Ignore Women?

1. Does the movie contain two or more named female characters?

2. Do those characters talk to each other?

3. If so, do they discuss something other than a man?

Surprisingly few movies pass this test of gender bias, revealing a mainstream cinema dominated by male-centric story lines bereft of strong female characters. The majority of this year’s Best Picture nominees fail, and historically nearly seventy per cent of Best Picture winners have failed, too.

The test gets its name from the cartoonist Alison Bechdel, whom Judith Thurman profiled for the magazine in 2012. Bechdel first proposed the rules that became the test in a 1985 installment of the comic strip “Dykes to Watch Out For.” Now there’s a Web site that has applied the test to hundreds of movies, and Sweden made headlines last November when movie theatres there introduced a new rating system based on the principles of the test.

Film critics and moviegoers have debated the efficacy of the Bechdel Test. It isn’t perfect—some movies that fail aren’t necessarily misogynistic, while some that pass barely do so. But it shines a harsh light on Hollywood, especially when you consider the test’s criteria against their reverse: almost every movie contains a conversation between two men that’s not about a woman.

We’ve prepared an interactive quiz that pits all nine of this year’s Best Picture nominees against other Oscar-nominated movies of years past. In each case, one passes the Bechdel Test; the other doesn’t. Try it out.

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