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Entries in gender politics (154)

Friday
Feb192016

Breaking News: The Academy Makes Yet Another Diversity Blunder / Plays Favorites in "Original Song"

News just broke that performances of Original Song nominees Youth's "Simple Song No. 3" (read our interview) and Facing Extinction's "Manta Ray" have been nixed from the Oscar broadcast, the producers citing "time constraints" for the always lengthy show. Performances of the other three nominated songs by Lady Gaga, The Weeknd, and Sam Smith are still in play.

TFE must express rage at yet another stupid Academy blunder. This sends an incredibly bad faith message to nominees -- if you're not famous pop stars, your nominations are "lesser than". And in a year where the Academy has been the subject of immense criticism for their lack of diversity they've essentially excluded the sole trans nominee (Antony Hegarty of Antony & the Johnsons fame who co-wrote and sings "Manta Ray") from valuable air time.

As a longtime fan of Antony and as a member of the LGBT community this enrages me. Diversity is about more than just skin color.  Here's J Ralph & Antony's nominated song. And do yourself a favor and get acquainted with Antony Hegarty's music because it's brilliant.

Antony Hegarty

Thursday
Feb112016

In Appreciation of "American Crime"

It's a common beliefe that there’s a ceiling to how poignant and brutally honest network television can be.  The often accurate stereotype is that the hour-long dramas that inspire debate and passion are found on pay or premium cable; network TV is for rote procedurals and other series unwilling or unable to truly push the envelope.

Yet In the month since it has premiered, the second season of Academy-Award winning writer John Ridley’s (12 Years a Slave) “American Crime” has been flying in the face of pre-conceived notions about the limitations of network television. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Feb092016

Silence of the Lambs Pt 2: Head in Jar, Moth in Throat, Girl in Pit

Team Experience is revisiting 1991's Best Picture, Silence of the Lambs for its 25th anniversary.  In Pt 1 we met our protagonist FBI student Clarice Starling, given an errand by her boss to question serial killer Hannibal the Cannibal in hopes of gaining insight into a new case, a killer named "Buffalo Bill". We begin where Kieran left us with our intrepid heroine, Clarice Starling, sliding herself narrowly into an ominous storage facility thanks to a lead (of sorts) from Hannibal Lecter.

Let’s see what she finds inside, shall we?

Pt 2 by Angelica Jade Bastién

00:24:43 A bloody cut from some rotten wood will be the least of Clarice’s problems

00:25:35 Creepiest storage facility ever, right? Thus far we’ve seen disparate parts from pale mannequins, a taxidermy owl suspended mid flight, and other odd oddities covered in dust. 

00:26:05 The fear and curiosity on Clarice’s face is palpable. I think what makes her such a compelling lead are those qualities coupled with her bravery. I’ve been bothered recently by seeing many female characters who are either so strong they seem infallible or faux girl-power creations. Clarice is compelling because of her humanity and complications.

more after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Jan232016

Links: Dolls, Dancers, Disney, and Agent Scully

Some links as we hole watching movies and writing future articles during the blizzard...

John August on torrenting the Oscars
MNPP remembers 5 great experiences at New York City's historic Ziegfeld Theater (about to close). Oh the memories
Boy Culture a documentary about the dancers from Madonna's classic Truth or Dare film / Blonde Ambition tour to premiere at Berlinale
Deadline new projects for JC Chandor (A Most Violent Year) including a remake of that extremely tense Austrian film The Robber - good luck topping the adrenaline of the original

Awards Daily Lady Gaga will perform "Til It Happens to You" at the Producers Guild gala
Pajiba Charlie Cox has not yet been invited to Marvel's Infinity Wars. He is waiting impatiently
Fandor breaks down the Best Actor race
Salon talks up Tori Amos's "Boys for Pele" (my favorite of her records) on its 20th anniversary
Interview Magazine talks to the "unusually busy" Gillian Anderson about her recent roles
Vanity Fair on Gillian Anderson fighting for wage equality on X-Files reunion
• Deadline a list of hot actors everyone wants for pilot season. Whenever I read about pilot season I realize how little I understand about the strange flickering alien world of television. Where people can even have whole careers without anyone seeing their work (with the amount of pilots that don't make it to series) How can the same actors be wanted for every drama? No actor is right for every role.

Disney & Girls
• Bloomberg Business how Hasbro snatched Disney's all powerful Princess line of dolls away from Mattel. They also got facial adjustments. Terrifyingly Hasbro promises to make the Disney Princesses even more ubiquitous than they already are. This article even has the story reenacted by dolls (with Avengers cameos naturally) in a video
• Sweatpants and Coffee Ooh i knew Disney was throwing up smokescreensto distract us. Turns out toymakers were 'specifically directed' to exclude Rey from toylines due to her gender! It wasn't from "secrecy" as they tried to peddle earlier. #WheresRey
Comics Alliance ...but Black Widow will be part of the toyline from Captain America: Civil War (with a new costume)
i09 has an interesting piece on the story work behind Zootopia and how the secondary female character, a bunny named Judy Hopps, took over the leading role from the male fox who was originally its protagonist.

Friday
Jan222016

This just in... Academy's New Diversity Plans Announced

After the emergency meeting of the Oscar's governing board (51 players strong) to discuss what to do about their sorry track record of diversity these past few years -- #OscarsSoWhite had become the only story out of the Oscar nominations -- they've announced plans for changes to take effect immediately following this Oscar season.

It boils down to a plan to significantly expand & speed up the initiatives President Cheryl Boone Isaac had already put in place with one very significant change.

  • New Members* 
    Though they've been adding more members annually already, between now and 2020 they vow to double the number of female and diverse voters. The Academy currently has about 6,261 voting members with estimates of women and nonwhite members making up about 1400 of that number so expect a couple those more members. 
  • Three New Board Members
    The 51 seats will increase to 54 with the new members chosen by the President. (All eyes will be on who she selects I'm sure. Is it too much to ask that we get an LGBT person in there somewhere? Because the Academy's track record) 
  • Membership Terms
    This one is the major change. It's no longer a lifetime appointment (unless you are an actual nominee or winner so yes Roberto Benigni gets to stay) but a ten year appointment. Members must be active in film during the decade to renew their membership when it's up. If they don't meet the criteria they will become "Members Emeritus". This will apply retroactively after the Oscars this year. Voters who do not qualify will not lose any privileges except voting. So they still get all the screenings and perks and such. 

* One more change involving the new members to be invited (which usually happens in the summer) was announced but it's a bit vague. Variety describes it like so:

The Academy will supplement the traditional process in which current members sponsor new members by launching an ambitious, global campaign to identify and recruit qualified new members who represent greater diversity.

Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the Academy's current President

Cheryl Boone Isaacs states:

The Academy is going to lead and not wait for the industry to catch up. These new measures regarding governance and voting will have an immediate impact and begin the process of significantly changing our membership composition.”

This is all very promising but we'll still need the industry to catch up to insure that different types of stories are told and heard each year. And audiences will still need to support stories that aren't about superheroes or men to get more of these films made. But that's another struggle.

For now hear hear on Ms. Isaac's swift actions! 

HERE IS THE ACADEMY'S PRESS RELEASE

Tuesday
Jan192016

Idris Elba on Imagination & Diversity

You know you can carve out 32 minutes for Idris Elba. My favorite part of this speech he recently gave in the UK about the television industry, other than its wide grasp of diversity being about much more than skin color (the frequent references to how women are marginalized is most welcome), is the acknowledgement and gratitude to the people behind the scenes, especially casting directors, who've helped actors like himself break out of stereotypes and industry-prescribed boxes. The key, he wisely stresses, is imagination. [More...]

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Saturday
Jan162016

Handwringing: The Ongoing, Important but Not Always Helpful #OscarsSoWhite Conversation

Have you been following the #OscarsSoWhite discussion? Or rather the shouting? Discussion happens after the fact so we waited 48 hours. There was a lot of knee jerk anger on the day of the Oscar Nominations and many bold statements. Some were totally understandable. Others had us wondering if we've been watching a different Oscars for the past quarter century than anyone else.

If you can't read another word about this we'll understand and hope you'll come back for the next article. But if you'd like to discuss and are willing to think about diversity as a wider and more important topic than a list of 20 names published this year and who or who isn't on it, than read on.

First, I need to get something off my chest...

Click to read more ...