2018 AWFJ EDA Award Winners – Jennifer Merin reports

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The Alliance of Women Film Journalists is proud that our 2018 EDA Awards nominees and winners genuinely reflect the movie industry’s recent advances in the cause of equality and diversity. Our EDA Awards always honor the year’s best films and artists, regardless of gender, but we also recognize the need to have categories that focus specifically on women’s achievements in an industry that still has a long way to go to reach gender parity and equal opportunity for all.

For this year’s EDA Awards, AWFJ members singled out films telling stories centered around strong and complex female characters from diverse backgrounds. We have honored the excellent work of female directors and screenwriters. And, as is our custom, we have called out some egregious choices and behavior that we hope will not be repeated in the future.

In the final count, Roma won the most EDA Awards — five of them — including Best Film, Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Editing and Best Non-English Language Film.

Next in ranking is The Favourite, with EDA Awards for Best Actress and for Bravest Performance going to Olivia Colman and Best Woman Screenwriter and Best Screenplay Original going to Deborah Davis (with the latter prize shared with co-scripter Tony Mcnanara).

Then there is Can You Ever Forgive Me? with three EDAs, including Best Woman Director for Marielle Heller, Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Richard E Grant and Best Screenplay, Adapted for Nicole Holofcener (with Jeff White).

Our vote for Best Actress in a Supporting Role went to Regina King for If Beale Street Could Talk, and our award for Actress Best Defying Age and Ageism went to Viola Davis for Widows. Jennifer Lawrence‘s Red Sparrow turn earned her this year’s Actress Most in Need of a New Agent Award. But we applauded the Black Panther cast and Casting Director Sarah Finn our EDA Award for Best Ensemble. And, Black Panther cinematographer Rachel Morrison was recognized for her Outstanding Accomplishment by a Woman in Film Industry– for her exceptional shooting on the Marvel blockbuster and for for being the first female cinematographer to be nominated for an Oscar (for her work on Mudbound).

All in all, 2018 produced a bumper crop of very fine female-directed and female-centered films. You’ll find ten of them listed as nominees for this year’s Best Woman Director EDA Award. Unfortunately, too few of these truly watch-worthy films reached the mainstream, and their title’s have not appeared on many other voting group’s awards ballots. But we hope that AWFJ and the EDA Awards can help to rush these films and other fine indie-made femme-helmed flicks into the current.

Now, get ready. Get set. And go to the complete listing of the 2018 AWFJ EDA Award winners

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Jennifer Merin

Jennifer Merin is the Film Critic for Womens eNews and contributes the CINEMA CITIZEN blog for and is managing editor for Women on Film, the online magazine of the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, of which she is President. She has served as a regular critic and film-related interviewer for The New York Press and About.com. She has written about entertainment for USA Today, The L.A. Times, US Magazine, Ms. Magazine, Endless Vacation Magazine, Daily News, New York Post, SoHo News and other publications. After receiving her MFA from Tisch School of the Arts (Grad Acting), Jennifer performed at the O'Neill Theater Center's Playwrights Conference, Long Wharf Theater, American Place Theatre and LaMamma, where she worked with renown Japanese director, Shuji Terayama. She subsequently joined Terayama's theater company in Tokyo, where she also acted in films. Her journalism career began when she was asked to write about Terayama for The Drama Review. She became a regular contributor to the Christian Science Monitor after writing an article about Marketta Kimbrell's Theater For The Forgotten, with which she was performing at the time. She was an O'Neill Theater Center National Critics' Institute Fellow, and then became the institute's Coordinator. While teaching at the Universities of Wisconsin and Rhode Island, she wrote "A Directory of Festivals of Theater, Dance and Folklore Around the World," published by the International Theater Institute. Denmark's Odin Teatret's director, Eugenio Barba, wrote his manifesto in the form of a letter to "Dear Jennifer Merin," which has been published around the world, in languages as diverse as Farsi and Romanian. Jennifer's culturally-oriented travel column began in the LA Times in 1984, then moved to The Associated Press, LA Times Syndicate, Tribune Media, Creators Syndicate and (currently) Arcamax Publishing. She's been news writer/editor for ABC Radio Networks, on-air reporter for NBC, CBS Radio and, currently, for Westwood One's America In the Morning. She is also a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association. For her AWFJ archive, type "Jennifer Merin" in the Search Box (upper right corner of screen).