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Essential feminist Oscar films you need to watch before the Academy Awards

It's all about girl power in these brilliant female-led movies
 

Photo: Instagram/guardianfashion, webuyblack

The Oscars are around the corner and one of the most talked-about movies is The Favourite, with 10 nominations. It's one of the most celebrated movies in the past year too, having already won Golden Globes and BAFTAs.

Based on the true story of Queen Anne, her close friend Lady Sarah and a new servant, Abigail, it's a film with three strong female leads. In fact, all three actresses, Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone, are nominated in the acting categories.

But, before we get to see how many Academy Awards this movie takes home, brush up on some excellent feminist films from the past, such as these five gems.

 

1. Working Girl (1988)

Won Oscar for Best Music, Original Song

Also nominated for Best Picture, Best Actress in a Leading Role (Melanie Griffith), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Joan Cusack & Sigourney Weaver), Best Director

The story of Tess McGill (Griffith), a hardworking young woman who has huge ambitions but finds herself stuck in a secretarial job. When her boss (Weaver) breaks her leg and is unable to work for a bit, Tess seizes this opportunity and takes over her job. Then she finds out that her boss was planning to steal one of her ideas which would bring her much praise. So she decides to take on this deal herself, since it was her idea in the first place.

It might sound a little dated now, as women are doing well in boardrooms all over the world, but if you remember that this was a time when men dominated the corporate world, one woman's quest to make it with her own ideas and ambitions is pretty inspirational.

 

2. Thelma & Louise (1991)

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Won Oscar for Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen

Also nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role (Geena Davis & Susan Sarandon), Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing

If you're looking for a fun movie with strong female characters, this is it.

Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon star in this film about a road trip gone wrong and it's one hell of a ride.

Two friends leave their men for a weekend and go on a road trip but two women on the road can sometimes attract questionable characters so they come face-to-face with an unpleasant man one drunken night and Louise ends up killing him in order to protect her friend. They then escape and this is when 'girl power' comes into action as they have the time of their lives while being on the run. Look out for a very young Brad Pitt in this film.

 

ALSO READ: CELEBRATING THE FIERCEST HAIR ACCESSORIES ON THE OSCARS RED CARPET

 

3. The Color Purple (1985)

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Nominated for 11 Oscars – Best Picture, Best Actress in a Leading Role (Whoopi Goldberg),  Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Margaret Avery & Whoopi Goldberg), Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Best Costume Design, Best Music, Original Song, Best Music, Original Score, Best Makeup

Based on the novel of the same name, this is the story of Celie Johnson (Goldberg), who is abused by a number of men – including her father and husband – over several decades.

Based on the novel of the same name, it's set in the Southern area of America in the early 1900s and is an extraordinary tale of courage shown by a group of women. Despite years of being exposed to abuse and tyranny, they somehow manage to support each other and it's this amazing sisterhood that gives them the strength to help themselves and each other.

 

4. Erin Brockovich (2000)

Won Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role (Julia Roberts)

Also nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Albert Finney), Best Director, Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen

The true story of a woman who was instrumental in winning the largest settlement ever paid in a direct-action lawsuit. Erin (Roberts) is a down-on-her-luck single mum who get a job as a legal assistant but nobody in the firm takes her seriously, no thanks to her 'trashy' dressing and not-exactly-professional manner. She then comes across a case against a California power company and, as she digs further, finds out that there's a huge cover-up taking place, involving the industrial poisoning of a city's water supply.

A truly inspiring story of a woman who exposed a scandal that was affecting the health of a community. If you love Julia Roberts, watch her also in the excellent Steel Magnolias (she was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role), about a group of women who support each other through tragedy.

 

5. Hidden Figures (2016)

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Nominated for three Oscars – Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role (Octavia Spencer), Best Adapted Screenplay

A remarkably inspiring film that's a celebration of female achievement.

It's about a team of African-American female mathematicians who played an important role during the early years of NASA's space programme. They were the brains behind the organisation's operations and the movie follows three of these 'human computers', Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer), Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae), and Katherine Gobels Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), and how they accomplished success regardless of their gender and race.

A group of women lauded for their brains? We're totally on board.

 

ALSO READ: BEST DRESSED AT THE 2018 OSCARS

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