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Entries in gender politics (103)

Wednesday
Feb112015

Where My Girls At? Taraji, Helen, Geena

Did you catch that insane Fox news thing (I realize that sounds redundant) about Hollywood emasculating men by making women the heroes of all movies. Haha. They're so dumb. And also: WE WISH. A new study suggests that we're reaching record lows with only 12% of Hollywood films having female leads and a gross drop in percentages of roles when women pass the age of 40. So I figure it's time for a very brief Where My Girls At roundup of women who are currently wowing. Only 3 this time.

Taraji
Check out the gorgeous new photos and interview with Empire's Taraji P Henson from Uptown Magazine. I want to rename that show EMPIRE or (The Unexpected Ghetto Fabulousness of Cookie) because she just owns that show. (Lee Daniels, one of TFE's favorite actressexual filmmakers, is such a blessing to women of a certain age. I'd personally argue way moreso than Ryan Murphy because they get to do work just as crazy and show-offy but the results are often better and they don't have to play second fiddle to Jessica Lange.) Anyway,  I like that Taraji is particularly frank in this inteview and has interesting "employ tunnel vision" advice on careers. Hers has had its ups & downs, including in awards buzz. Take this bit for example:

While celebrating the variety of black talent currently on-screen, becoming distracted by her peers’ success, however, is not on Henson’s to-do list. With a tightknit, mega-watt circle that includes Gabrielle Union, Regina Hall and Sanaa Lathan, tunnel vision is imperative. “If you don’t stay in your lane and you start looking around, you’ll go crazy,” she says. “I use to have this crazy thing with Amy Adams, and I love Amy Adams. You see her [consistently] getting nominated, as she should, because Amy does good work. But, it’s like, ‘Well, I did good work too.’ But if you choose to stay in that place then you become miserable. It’s a pity party and nobody cares. I’m human, so I’ve done it. But I check that because it’s ego and it’s the devil.” 

Helen
Helen Mirren, the world's sexiest 69 year old, continues flaunting it because she's got it. Here's her cheeky new ad for L'Oreal...

 

Geena
Geena Davis's reign as an A List actress gives good nostalgia now considering how many good movies she made in her heyday. She debuted in a small role in the Best Picture nominated classic Tootsie (1982) and her roles rapidly increased in size in the 80s in classics like The Fly (1986) and Beetlejuice (1988) culminating in an oscar win for another Best Picture nominee The Accidental Tourist (1988). By the time the 90s hit she was a major star (see big hits and feminist classics A League of Their Own and Thelma & Louise). But her reign was short and her career died a still kind of inexplicably swift death in 1996 after two high profile action flops. It was literally the year in which she turned 40. She didn't show up on the big screen again until 3 years later when she was suddenly reduced to the sidebar mom role in the children's hit Stuart Little. But she's become a very vocal activist and gender equality warrior since then. Her latest move is the creation of the Bentonville Film Festival which debuts this May which will showcase female roles, diversity, and family friendly movies. As a moviegoer with a deep love for Ms Davis, I seriously looked into going for The Film Experience but just don't have the funds for it so I'll be reading reports in early May with enthusiasm. Just sad that I won't be one of the lucky film journalists that get to write them. *sniffle*

Monday
Feb092015

Links

The Carpetbagger on the rising red carpet revolt. No more 'who are you wearing?' no more Mani-cams?... 
Lainey Gossip ... but not everyone is okay with this. Here's an angry report on Nicole Kidman at the Grammys
Playbill Anna Kendrick will perform at the Oscars but they're not saying what. My guess is that they're doing a 50th anniversary Sound of Music tribute -- I just hope they make Best Actress Julie Andrews a part of it somehow.
Vimeo "Life Inside Jabba the Hutt"
EW longform goes 'sex lies and fifty shades of grey' 
Film School Rejects allows for the non-story silliness of imagining Ava DuVernay directing a superhero movie
Hubpages how Franklin became the first black Peanuts comic strip character
Pajiba on the relatable marital awkwardness of HBO's Together starring Melanie Lynskey and Mark Duplass
AV Club remembers Jeff Bridges and Karen Allen in Starman (1984). It's a goodie

Wachowski World
Hitfix Motion Captured The Wachowskis interviewed on the insanity of Jupiter Ascending, Wizard of Oz and Brazil as influences and more
Variety thinks that Jupiter Ascending failed because it was too original 
Hollywood Elsewhere ...but Jeff Wells thinks it failed for the opposite reason 

LGBT Interest
Gawker Rich Juzwiak is brilliant as usual - a must read on Lance Bass's "masculine" Reality TV wedding
Women in Hollywood Lionsgate won the bidding war for Julianne Moore and Ellen Page drama Freeheld 
In Contention redemption might be coming for the much maligned 54 (1998) with Mark Christopher's directors cut? I remember loving his Alkali, Iowa short which first won him attention but the version of 54 that hit theaters was weak. The new version which is said to contain 40 minutes (!!!) of unseen footage and excise 30 minutes of studio-forced reshoots premieres at Berlinale tomorrow!

Friday
Jan302015

Sundance: Lily Tomlin's "Grandma" is a Sharp-Tongued Joy

Nathaniel reporting from Sundance. Or, rather, from Manhattan, while still thinking of Sundance and possibly my favorite film from that trip...

The first chapter of Grandma, an ornery new female-driven comedy, is called “Endings” a counterintuitive opening title, perhaps, but appropriate. Elle Reid (Lily Tomlin) doesn’t have much taste for beginnings. A year and half before our story begins, this "writer-in-residence," who had a brief period of reknown as a feminist poet,  lost her life partner of nearly 40 years to cancer. She’s still bitter about it. We know that her new girlfriend of four months Olivia will soon be shown the door because she's played by Judy Greer who is contractually obliged to never have more than 3 scenes in a movie. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Jan252015

The Linking Point

Write Out of LA on underappreciated directors of 2014's awards season
Playbill Into the Woods cast members sang to Rob Marshall at the Artios Awards
xkcd The Star Wars tipping point
Script Notes talks about the "default male" problem in screenwriting
Empire Warner Bros still wants to make a feature adaptation of The Jetsons
Jason Robert Brown, the great composer of The Last Five Years shares a new live concert online with Tony winner and movie Dreamgirl Anika Noni Rose. It's $5

Vulture cable programmings explosion over the past 15 years. This is why no one can keep up. 
Awards Daily the Oscar bump is helping the indies. Even the long since faded Whiplash was up 114% this past weekend 
Dissolve Martin Scorsese finally approaching production of the long-gestatingSilence about Jesuit missionaries in 17th-century Japan


Comics Alliance casting young versions of the X-Men for X-Men: Apocalypse. Tye Sheridan is a fine young actor so no qualms there but I didn't enjoy Sophie Turner's work on Game of Thrones (I only watched the first season - did she improve?) so I worry about her Jean Grey 
Carpetbagger The Witch still hasn't technically premiered at Sundance (just press screenings) but reviews are so good it's not helping the attempt at a mysterious low profile

Thursday
Jan152015

Interesting Stats About The 87th Oscars

DuPont has something in common with those other sociopaths Lisbeth Salander and James BondDid you know...

• The tiny grossing Foxcatcher is now tied with two blockbusters Skyfall and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo for "most nominations without a Best Picture nomination" in the modern Best Picture expanded era. The all time record holder if you include years with only 5 Best Picture nominees is They Shoot Horses Don't They from 1969 which received 9 nominations but not Best Picture. And that one is better than all of the actual Best Picture nominees from its year.

• Grand Budapest Hotel, a very atypical nominee in so many ways (comic, uber-stylized, filled with slapstick) is also the highest grosser currently. The Oscars went very small this year after a few years of big hits peppering their Best Picture lineup

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jan132015

Top Five Golden Globes Speeches 

Margaret with more on Sunday's Golden Globes...

Awards show speeches are weird and wonderful things. They’re awkward and rushed, they hold the weight of hundreds of peoples’ expectations, and they are bound to disappoint or offend somebody no matter what they contain.

Since the Golden Globes are the first big ceremony of awards season (People's Choice A-whats? Haven't heard of 'em), the winners have their work cut out for them to be memorable and charming and humble enough to make their new statuette the first of many.

Below we have a roundup of my picks for best movie-category speeches of the night, plus some speculation about whether they might influence the Oscar race. (For wins, not nominations, since the voting is closed and they're now set in stone.)

Honorable mention goes to Just-Keep-Simmons for his amusingly gruff speech ("I think I only have 45 seconds, so shut up").

5. Wes Anderson – Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy (Grand Budapest Hotel)

Oh, Wes Anderson. Never change! I mean, look at him. Look how uncomfortable he is, how his eyes are locked to his notes. Look at that slightly crooked bowtie. So many ‘um’s and ‘uh’s. He does not want to be the center of attention. If we needed any proof that he’s not the awards-campaigning type, we have it now. It’s lovely to see a Grand Budapest Hotel win, and that could mean that it's got a more solid shot at an Best Picture Oscar nomination than most of us dare hope... but then again, the HFPA often marches to the beat of their own drummer.

4. Julianne Moore – Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama (Still Alice)

Remember when we never got to watch Julianne win anything? Judging by her adorably delighted reaction, the thrill is a fresh one. She shares a lovely dictum from her mother (“a happy person is someone who has work and love”) and gets choked up thanking her family. On the cynical side, the speech hit all the right marks. People love their frontrunners (especially women—boo) to be humble and surprised and emotional when they win. A good move towards Oscar.

3. Michael Keaton - Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy (Birdman)

Sure, it’s a little long (more obvious since it came near the end of the late-running program), but he’s telling a story instead of listing off names, and in the dynastic industry that is Hollywood it’s refreshing to hear from people who were born far from the business. Also: he produced actual tears as he choked out a touching tribute to his son (“Two things I wasn’t gonna do—cry, and give air quotes—damn”), and we all know Oscar loves a good manful cry. This may have pushed him into winner territory.

2. Patricia Arquette - Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture (Boyhood)

The win was an expected one, but it was no less enjoyable for that. She’s concentrating so hard on getting all her written words out (“Sorry I’m the only nerd with a piece of paper”), but you can just see the immense feeling threatening to bubble out as she gives sweet, genuine thanks to her movie family. It’s clear that the role and the film mean very, very much to her. No major shakeups from this speech; it seems pretty clear she’s headed straight to the Dolby podium.

1. Common and John Legend - Best Original Song in a Motion Picture (Selma)

Potent, stirring, beautifully put.  What every awards speech should be if it possibly can. Common did almost all of the talking, more about Selma itself than the winning song, and put the focus back where it should be: “Selma has awakened my humanity… Selma is now.” If there’s any justice (there isn’t), this would be making the rounds among all the people crying “historical inaccuracy!!” and giving them something else to think about. Good for their awards chances as songwriters, good for the film as a whole. Bonus points for making Oprah cry. 

What were your favorite speeches of the night? Who didn't win that you'd like to hear a speech from soon?

Tuesday
Jan062015

Link is Strange

THR Grease Reunion! Olivia Newton-John sings with Didi Conn
Vanity Fair Rosamund Pike talks about that scene in Gone Girl (no, not the overrated nothing shower scene. the other one)
The Daily Dot offers up a chart of superhero films and the Bechdel test 
Awards Circuit Clayton shares his personal ballot. He has some weird notions about what "supporting" means (John Lithgow in Love is Strange. smh) but it's fun to see personal favorite lists. They're always more idiosyncratic than critics groups: lots of love for Wild Tales and Eleanor Rigby 
The Atlantic an article on a shift in Madonna's provocation... it's negative but interesting
Grantland has an even better piece on Madonna's consistency and her new old #unapologeticbitch phase. I'm always happy when Madonna inspires cultural thinkpieces. This Girl will never be Gone.

Coming Soon Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone will be back in April 2016 with Michelle Darnell, a comedy about an insider trading excon. I'm rooting for them but please be more taut and more focused and funnier and just better than Tammy. PLEASE. 
Critic Wire asks us to stop paying attention to the Razzies
EW has an Ant-Man cover. Paul Rudd looks good but I have to be honest I'm a little tired of superhero outfits being these butch armorish leather things which has been going on for over a decade now. Let's bring back the bright spandex! 

Speaking of I do love the new poster...

Two Things I Never Tire of Loving About MNPP
Jason's love of Dominic Cooper
Jason's hatred of Jane Wyman 

Follow Ups
Frontiers Matthew Warchus comments on the Pride DVD debacle (discussed earlier)
Flavorwire defends the NSFC for their left field Best Picture choice (discussed earlier) though I myself would be far more eager to come to their defense if they'd exhibited any imagination at all in the other categories 
The Stake remembers some really great Meryl Streep quotes that reflect poorly on Russell Crowe's absolutely obnoxious comments about aging actresses (which we linked up earlier). Ageism is so pernicious and when combined with sexism its extra odious. I'm gearing myself up for another round of this when the new Madonna album comes out and all the people who hate the inevitability of their own eventual death will say she should "act her age" instead of still being a vibrant entertainer in her 50s.