Do the 2019 Oscar Best Picture Nominees Pass the Bechdel Test?

For anyone who doesn’t know, the Bechdel Test is based on and named for Alison Bechdel’s 1985 comic strip in her series “Dykes to Watch Out For,” in which one woman explains to another her rules for movies she’ll watch. The test for years has been used as a measure for female representation in films and, though more useful as a jump point for discussion than an actual basis for inclusion, it is surprising how many films still don’t fulfil the basic criteria.

To pass, a film must 1) have two named female characters who 2) have a conversation about 3) something besides a man. So, let’s see how many of our Best Picture nominees from 2018 make the cut, how many pass — and how many just barely scrape by.

A Star is Born — Yes

Well, sort of. This just passes on a technicality. There’s a short convo between Ally and her stage manager, Gail, who gives her instructions before Ally runs onstage. It’s short and hardly a conversation, so if you don’t count that, A Star is Born fails on Step 3: talking about NOT a guy.

BlacKkKlansman — Yes

Another pass, but barely. A chat about black liberation at the beginning of the film makes this one a pass, but pretty much everything else focuses on the two main men. 

Bohemian Rhapsody — No

With only one principal female character and a general focus on the band boys, the failure of this biopic on the Bechdel Test is a bummer, but not surprising.

Black Panther — Yes 

We’ve got a lot of badass women in this one, but most of the time they’re talking about the male heroes/villain. However, a discussion about the princess’ and queen’s safety pulls the film to a pass.

 

The Favourite — Yes

This is VERY MUCH A PASS. Two women vying for the favour of their queen? Yeah, it’s pretty female-focused.

Green Book — No
Sad that our 2019 Oscar Best Picture doesn’t make the cut; but, again, with a very male focus and very few major characters, this doesn’t come as much of a surprise either. 

Roma — Yes

While there is no shortage of chitchats about boys in this movie about Mexican women, some girl-to-girl conversations about their land keep this on in the YES zone.

Vice — No

Why hello, another male-centric movie. This one, unsurprisingly, also fails to have a male-free conversation between two women.