New MacArthur Genius Award Winners Include Alison Bechdel and Joshua Oppenheimer

Posted on September 17, 2014 at 9:53 am

It is always a treat to see the worthy awardees of the MacArthur Foundation’s “genius grants.” The foundations awards are unique because you cannot apply for them and there are no restrictions on the use of the money given to the recipients. The awards committee reviews the work of people making extraordinary contributions to science, culture, and justice. This year’s recipients of the MacArthur awards are superbly impressive, as always. I was especially glad to see the awards go to Joshua Oppenheimer, director of The Act of Killing, one of the most striking, innovative, and compelling films I have ever seen, and Alison Bechdel, author of one of my favorite books, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, and popularizer of “The Bechdel Test” for movies: Are there more than two female characters and do they talk about anything other than men? I’m thrilled that these awards will bring more attention to their work and help them to do more. Oppenheimer’s sequel, “The Look of Silence,” is opening later this year, and Bechdel’s second memoir, Are You My Mother?: A Comic Drama, was published last year.

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