Starting off on the not so right foot, but we’ll get through this together
by Margarita Sophia Cortes
It’s a fresh new year with new beginnings and staying positive. Let’s dive right into a quick note about the Oscar® nominations, which were pretty meh. The good news is there were three female-centric films nominated for Best Picture: Brooklyn, Room and Mad Max: Fury Road and four women screenwriter nominees: Phyllis Nagy (Carol) and Emma Donoghue (Room) for adapted screenplay, and Meg LeFauve (Inside Out) and Andrea Berloff (Straight Outta Compton) for original screenplay. Ethnic diversity still sucks.
I did have one head-turning exorcist-infused moment during Kate Winslet’s speech, which left me twitching for a day or two. After winning the award for Best Supporting Actress in her role for Steve Jobs, she stated “what an incredible year for women in film.” Really, Kate?
Let’s update the Kates of the world on the reality, which is that we’ve had another disappointing year showing declining statistics of women employed in film across the board. Take a quick glance at the latest frustrating study by Dr. Martha Lauzen at Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University, which was further broken down by Women and Hollywood. Exhale deeply for a moment before we continue.
In a nutshell: of the top 250 domestic grossing films in 2015, only 19% were comprised of women directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors and cinematographers. The numbers mark no progress from four decades earlier. Exhale.
Uplifting things are in the works so let’s stay positive. After years of a Ghostbusters reboot debate, there is an all female cast production coming to us soon featuring Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon. Fantastic! Of course, I expect to hear negative feedback from male critics. Of course, I hope that the women do what they do best and kick ass while drowning out the noise. There is already some backlash from male critics and fans who haven’t even seen the movie yet. #Petty. Those are the breaks.
Another project in development is an all-female cast of Ocean’s Eleven starring Sandra Bullock and with Olivia Milch writing the screenplay. The Playlist ran a story back in October discussing other possible cast members. While this news brought joy to my heart, my twitching came back when the journalist used the phrase “Hollywood gender-swapping trend.” Excuse me, trend?!?! Exhale…moving on.
Coming up, Taraji P. Hensen, Viola Davis, Priyanka Chopra, Olivia Wilde and Julia Louis-Dreyfus are all featured in Elle magazine’s new Women in TV issue as they discuss their gripes with Hollywood: sexism, ageism, body issues, lack of substantive roles, etc… Same old conversation with new faces each year.
As for New York Women in Film & Television, the organization is already starting the year off right with a new Immigrant Women Screening Series in the works. For the second year in a row NYWIFT will present films about the New York immigrant experience by women directors. The call for submissions is now open! Submit your films here to firstname.lastname@example.org. Deadline is Jan 30.
Plus, NYWIFT will have more exciting programs, insightful labs and illuminating news to come in the next few weeks. So stay tuned!
Well ladies, we’ve got our work cut out for us this year. Here’s to another year of staying positive and moving forward.