Tuesday, December 6, 2011

...Remember The Ladies

The film awards season is quickly creeping up... soon it'll be a flurry of articles, parties, awards, congrats and tantrums for those who are sore losers. Speculation as to what films will be nominated have already begun. A few forerunners seem apparent (The Help, anyone?) but I'm sure that those in charge of nominations have got a few surprises up their sleeves.

However, A study by San Diego State University's Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film, found that of the top 250 highest grossing films of 2010 only 16% had women involved in the project. And while the highest grossing films don't necessarily represent what films will be nominated during award season it does show a trend. A trend that shows only a small percentage of women working in Hollywood hold positions as directors, executive producers, writers, producers, cinematographers, and editors. And to make matters worse, the study showed that it declined by one percent from data collected in 1998. Now that's shameful. 1998 was twelve years ago! Come-on, we should be seeing improvement since the 90's, not regression!

The Help, which has grossed 198.8 million since it opened in August, is already been tapped by many to be nominated at events like the Oscars. It is one of the most women-centric films I've seen in years. The Help is the story of a group of black women who come together to write a book about their lives as maids in the 1960's and the white girl who types up the book for them. And while The Help has it's share of controversy, it cannot be denied, how many women are on screen. It's so rare to see this many female characters in one movie. And to be talking about something other then their love life... well that's practically unheard of! So I am submitting this film for consideration for an Oscar nomination (even though I don't actually have a say in what films are nominated).

The majority of the films which have been suggested as possible Oscar winners are very male dominated, in the sense that the stories center around male characters and were written/produced/directed/ect by men. J. Edgar, The Tree of Life, and Drive are just three films which have been mentioned by the press as possible nominees. And I'm not saying that these film's aren't good because they are (I mean, I won't lie, Drive is a favorite of mine). But I what I am trying to say is that it's important that the Academy not only acknowledges these films but also highlight films with female characters and females working behind the scenes.

The success of one female character driven film and/or a large percentage of a female crew can mean a lot for the success of other women-centric films. These films can inspire other women to make motion pictures, thus more voices will be herd, and more stories will be shared. I am sure when Kathryn Bigelow won Best Director for The Hurt Locker a lot of women were inspired and proud of her (myself included). Including more women in movies and behind the scenes would create a more balanced ratio of women in films. And thus create a more complex, layered view of women, rather then just seeing them as the hottie/the girlfriend/wife/mother/etc. Because too often this is how women are portrayed. So, I ask the Academy to, "remember the ladies, and to be more generous and favorable to them then your ancestors," as the wise Abigail Adams once said, during this awards season.

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I would love to hear from you about your feelings on this article or just in general about women in hollywood.