December 14, 2007

December 14, 2007

Weekend at the Box Office
Holdovers dominate the films that are by and about women this weekend.

Movies playing:
The Golden Compass
Margot at the Wedding
The Savages
August Rush

Looks like Juno, The Savages and Atonement go wider next week.

Opening next week is P.S. I Love You starring Hillary Swank and Julia Roberts' return in Charlie Wilson's War

Arranged - Opens in NY at the Quad Cinema Today
Arranged tells the story of two young religious women, one Jewish and one Muslim both anticipating their family "arranging" their marriages in modern day Brooklyn, NY. These are educated women, both teachers, who meet at their job and become unlikely friends when they realize they have more in common than they ever expected. Women are clearly submissive in both cultures and both these women have come to terms with how they fit into their own world. The principal at their school tries to get them to break free reminding them there was a woman's movement, yet both Rochel and Nasira (Francis Benhamou) are offended by her prying.

I think that the film would have been better served by a more experienced director. The performances felt quite choppy and the Jewish characters surrounding Rochel were caricatures. But the movie really tries to put forward a theme of tolerance, and I respect it for trying on its very limited budget.

Golden Globe Nominations

The Golden Globes are always more fun than the Oscars because they take themselves less seriously and the organizations that gives them out -the Hollywood Foreign Press Association - is always looked at suspiciously. They also give out awards for drama ans musical/comedies so there are more prizes to go around. But, it's televised and big star show up (although with the writers strike this year who knows what will happen.)

Relevant nominees:
Best Motion Picture - Drama

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama
Cate Blanchett – Elizabeth: The Golden Age
Julie Christie – Away From Her
Jodie Foster – The Brave One
Angelina Jolie – A Mighty Heart
Keira Knightley – Atonement

Best Motion Picture - Musical Or Comedy
Across The Universe

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
Amy Adams – Enchanted
Nikki Blonsky – Hairspray
Helena Bonham Carter – Sweeney Todd
Marion Cotillard – La Vie En Rose
Ellen Page – Juno

Best Performance by an Actress In A Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Cate Blanchett – I'm Not There
Julia Roberts – Charlie Wilson's War
Saoirse Ronan – Atonement
Amy Ryan – Gone Baby Gone
Tilda Swinton – Michael Clayton

Best Foreign Language Film
4 Months, 3 Weeks And 2 Days (Romania)
Persepolis (France)

Best Director - NO WOMEN

Best Screenplay - Motion Picture
Atonement- Written by Christopher Hampton
Juno- Written by Diablo Cody

Best Original Song - Motion Picture
"Despedida" – Love In The Time Of Cholera
Music By: Shakira and Antonio Pinto
Lyrics By: Shakira

"Grace Is Gone" – Grace Is Gone
Music By: Clint Eastwood
Lyrics By: Carole Bayer Sager

Best Television Series - Drama
Damages (FX NETWORK)
Grey's Anatomy (ABC)

Best Performance by an Actress In A Television Series - Drama
Patricia Arquette – Medium
Glenn Close – Damages
Minnie Driver – The Riches
Edie Falco – The Sopranos
Sally Field – Brothers & Sisters
Holly Hunter – Saving Grace
Kyra Sedgwick – The Closer

Best Television Series - Musical Or Comedy
30 Rock

Best Performance by an Actress In A Television Series - Musical Or Comedy
Christina Applegate – Samantha Who?
America Ferrera – Ugly Betty
Tina Fey – 30 Rock
Anna Friel – Pushing Daisies
Mary-Louise Parker – Weeds

Best Performance by an Actress In A Mini-series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Bryce Dallas Howard – As You Like It
Queen Latifah – Life Support
Debra Messing – The Starter Wife
Sissy Spacek – Pictures Of Hollis Woods
Ruth Wilson – Jane Eyre (Masterpiece Theatre)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Rose Byrne – Damages
Rachel Griffiths – Brothers & Sisters
Katherine Heigl – Grey's Anatomy
Samantha Morton – Longford
Anna Paquin – Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee
Jaime Pressly – My Name Is Earl (NBC)

Thoughts: So psyched that Damages has the most nominations of any series. Aslo thinkthe strongest category on the list is the best actress, TV drama. All great except I still don't get Medium at all. Very happy that Across the Universe was noticed and surprised that Tamara Jenkins and Laura Linney from The Savages were passed over.

Quotes from the nominees (all from Variety)

"Tim (Burton)'s assistant gave us the news. We're in the hospital because I'm supposed to have a baby tomorrow. It comes at a time when there's a larger event happening, an event almost as large as my stomach right now. (Stephen) Sondheim's a big challenge and learning to sing in three months was difficult but the material was so fantastic and my passion for Sondheim and the part got me through it. The part was so well written, you can't really go wrong, though I knew I had to take it in a different direction than Angela Lansbury. I've been a fan of Sondheim since I came out of the womb myself. At the moment I'm concentrating on one contraction at a time. It's a long journey. I don't know about the ceremony. We haven't really gotten that far. I think we've got a big thing to get through first and then we'll see."
-Helena Bonham Carter, nommed for actress, comedy/musical for "Sweeney Todd"
"It's lovely. I was actually at the Today show when the nominations were announced. I'm so excited and I'm so happy the film got three nominations and Diablo (Cody) got recognized. Her screenplay is one of the best I've ever read. I never thought it would lead to all these awards because that's not why I'm an actor and that's not how I pick roles. It's one of those things where everything clicked. I have a dinner tonight and then I head back to Nova Scotia where I'm sure there'll be a celebration of sorts. [As for the ceremony,] I'm completely supportive of the writers and I hope it's resolved soon in a completely fair way."
- Ellen Page, nommed for actress, comedy/musical for "Juno"
“Both films are so different from one another but each are memoirs told in an original voice. Marjane (Satrapi) has such a great voice and sense of humor. She makes the material so accessible.

“For ‘Diving Bell,’ I’m feeling great that it’s building momentum. It’s complicated in that it’s in French and there’s a certain amount of confusion in that it was nominated for foreign films in Golden Globes but not eligible for Oscar as a foreign film.”
- Kathleen Kennedy, producer on “Persepolis” and “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”
“Feels fantastic not only the show but Ted (Danson) and Rose (Byrne) too. I took it on the strength of one script.”

“I take great pride in the fact that I did TV in the beginning when people thought it would ruin my film career. I’ve always had a great respect for television, and I particularly like it now, as it has some of the best writing around. I love the pace of TV and the mental challenge. You have to learn lines a lot faster.

“I would never cross a picket line.”
- Glenn Close, nominated for TV drama actress, “Damages” (Variety)
“I’m thrilled. (Edith) Piaf went right into people’s hearts and she showed so much emotion. Most of the people in France know Piaf’s songs, but they don’t know much about her life.”

“It was difficult because we had to find the right balance of makeup and light, and it was a hard job to make a 30-year-old look that old. For me, after the tech problems were resolved, it was so much fun.”
- Marion Cotillard, actress comedy/musical, “La Vie en Rose”
“I was in my hotel room in Toronto where I'm rehearsing for a concert. Ironically, this is where the movie was made and a year and a half later, here I am nominated for a Golden Globe. I'm totally shocked and I'm dying inside. This whole experience has just been life-changing. It's just been fabulous and wonderful.”
- Nikki Blonsky, nommed for actress in a comedy/musical for “Hairspray”
"I'm in New York and I haven't slept all night. Everybody was yelling and I was so tired because I took a red-eye from San Francisco. I mean, I'm also happy, I just don't have the energy to yell myself. Animation is not a genre, it's a medium, so it fits me very well. We always felt that "Persepolis" was a universal movie that anyone could relate to and understand, so I think this nomination confirms that. You never know why something works but when it does, it's delightful."
- Marjane Satrapi, nommed for foreign-language film “Persepolis”
"It’s tremendous as we weren’t on the pundits lists and didn’t have big ads. I feel in a way that we were the engine that could. People vote from their heart and I feel very gratified"

“People come in with a prejudice about messing with the sacred Beatles, but they all loved the movie. We got tremendous support from that community. When so many movies are telling about the reality of war, I’m very proud to be putting out a movie with relatively unknown actors that kind of spark part of our lives.”
- Julie Taymor, nominated for best comedy/musical, “Across the Universe”

London Critics Circle List of Nominations




Laura Linney -- "The Savages"
Marion Cotillard -- "La Vie en rose"
Maggie Gyllenhaal -- "Sherry Baby"
Angelina Jolie -- "A Mighty Heart"
Anamaria Marinca -- "4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days"

Samantha Morton -- "Control"
Julie Christie -- "Away From Her"
Keira Knightley -- "Atonement"
Helena Bonham Carter -- "Sweeney Todd"
Sienna Miller -- "Interview"

Saoirse Ronan -- "Atonement"
Imelda Staunton -- "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix"
Tilda Swinton -- "Michael Clayton"
Kelly Macdonald -- "No Country for Old Men"
Vanessa Redgrave -- "Atonement"


Saoirse Ronan -- "Atonement"
Dakota Blue Richards -- "The Golden Compass"

Sarah Gavron, director -- "Brick Lane"

"4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days"

Sundance Screenwriters Lab
13 writers will participate in the lab with established filmmakers. Women picked include:
"Hammer and Anvil," by Alicia Erian (U.S.); "Hannah M.," by Hadar Friedlich (Israel); "Meadowlandz," by Moon Molson (U.S.); "Quotas," by Fellipe Gamarano Barbosa and Karen Sztajnberg (U.S./Brazil); "Return," by Liza Johnson (U.S.).

December 13, 2007

December 13, 2007

Women & Hollywood interviews Mary Rae Thewlis

Mary Rae Thewlis has spent the last seven years as a producer and production manager on Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Before that she spent five years as an assistant director on Law & Order. She spoke with Women & Hollywood as her show ends the first half of its season tonight. Catch the episode on USA at 10pm.

Women & Hollywood: Can you explain exactly what you do.

Mary Rae Thewlis: It's not uncommon for a production manager to also be a producer. The production manager is more nuts and bolts - works with budgets, hires crews. As the producer I am on the set at all times for the Chris Noth shows. We scout the locations sit in on script meetings, actor read throughs, casting sessions. On the set I am there to assist the director where needed to help keep things running smoothly, to keep an eye on the budget and to make sure the standards are maintained.
W&H: I thought that in TV a producer is a writer. Is that not the case?
MRT: In most cases a producer is a writer. If I were to flip open the title page of my script most of the producers would be writers. We have an executive producer and a showrunner, my boss who gets the produced by credit, another executive producer who is in charge of post-production. Then there are 3 writer producers and 2 consulting producers who are writers. Then there are those of us who manage the day to day filming and logistics and we get the producer title as well.

I don't think we are unique. I see a produced by credit now every time I turn on a CSI or House. You really need someone to handle the logistics and other non-writing aspects.
W&H: How would someone get into production management?
MRT: I was a DGA trainee and came up through the assistant director ranks. After you become the asst director you can move into production management. The DGA training program exposes the trainee to a variety of sets and environments possible so that at the end of the 2 years people have made a lot of contacts and options to choose from. When I was a trainee I worked on Scorcese's The Age of Innocence, and I also did TV shows. I am a trustee of the program now.
W&H: Are there as many women as men?
MRT: More than half the trainees are women, and we really emphasize diversity and opportunities for women. It takes time but honestly the girls are doing as good as the boys. It didn't used to be that way. At this point there are equal numbers of production managers and asst directors in TV. Features In features the first Assistant Directors are mostly men. Directing features you can forget about and its not much better in TV.
W&H: Why is it still so hard for women to break into directing?
MRT: I don't know. I'm on the DGA diversity task force and it's a constant battle at the directing level. We do extremely well in the below the line jobs like production managers, but at the directing level we still have a struggle One reason why TV is hard is that you have an 8 day prep and then shoot for 8 days. It's complicated and I've seen experienced directors struggle and if you come in without the episodic experience -- it's sink or swim. It's hard to give a person the opportunity to do it when they haven't done it before. It's kind of one of those situations where you have to have done the job to get the job. Men seem to have done better at it.
W&H: Have you noticed that female feature directors are now directing TV?
MRT: I think that's starting to happen and that makes me very happy. I think it's great to have a career as a feature director but TV can be someone's bread and butter while waiting for a feature.
W&H: How has the writer's strike affected your show?
MRT: We have shut down. We've shot everything. We are kind of in a holding pattern until its resolved and then we can make plans. I'm doing a couple a days wrap up. I will be on hiatus effective next week but there are always some accounting issues, checks to sign. Bills don't stop for a strike.
W&H: Do you have suggestions for a person who wants to get into production management?
MRT: You need to know the nuts & bolts of production. Get on the set experience as a Production Assistant or in Locations which is valuable in NY. When the opportunity presents itself learn everything you can learn about money and budgets. It is an industry open to bright people who want to learn.
Bionic Woman is one of the shows that might not make it back onto the schedule after the writer's strike ends. Personally, I think the show stinks and Michelle Ryan is dreadful. I haven't even watched the last 3 episodes but have a feeling they will get watched while there is nothing else on.
Bionic Woman Short Circuits (The Guardian)

A blistering take on the pathetic choice on the three networks dedicated to programming for women. I hardly watch any of them, ever (excepting some of the original programming on Lifetime like Army Wives and the previous series Strong Medicine and The Division). Is it women who are interested in these Bridezilla and women behaving badly shows, or is it the advertisers? I guess people watch them because they keep multiplying but they all make me sick.
Watching Women's Television (Slate)

If you've never heard of the singer Eva Cassidy who became famous after her death in 1996 at the age of 33 you are missing something special. In Britain her recording of What a Wonderful World is a top seller as a duet with Katie Melua. It also looks like a biopic is in the works.

December 12, 2007

December 12, 2007

She Made It Media Project Offers a Look Back and a Push Forward

I wrote this piece for the Women's Media Center
At a time when you could “hear the voices of women newscasters all over Europe,” recalled Nancy Dickerson, a network correspondent (who died in 1997) and one member of the Paley Center for Media’s She Made It class of 2007, the profession in the United States was “still riddled with prejudice.” In its third annual honors ceremony last week, the center (formerly the Museum of Television and Radio) celebrated women's overlooked and underappreciated contributions to the history of television and radio, while noting as well how much had changed.

Check out the full piece: She Made It

Hollywood's Current Black List (this seems to be a good black list)
Confirming that Hollywood has no sense of history, a couple of years ago a black list of the most liked scripts that have made the rounds during the calendar year, but haven't yet been made. Some have been bought and some have even been green-lit. Most will never get made.Nikki Finke ran the index of the list last week and I thought it would be interesting to see how many women are on the list Out of 126 listings only 17 are by women (and 3 might be men).

Are women's scripts not as good or are they just not getting read?

The List:
I WANT TO F--- YOUR SISTER by Melissa Stack
UNTITLED BILL CARTER PROJECT by Jordan Roberts- (man or woman?)
WEDNESAY by Massy Tadjedin
JENNIFER’S BODY by Diablo Cody (this is being made next year)
JONES by Carol Heikkinen
BALTIMORE by Chris Terrio & Jesse Lichtenstein (man or woman?)
BUTTERCUP by Alice O’Neil
DEAR JOHN by Jamie Linden (man or woman?)
THE WEDDING PARTY by Francesca Marciano
WRECKING BALL by Susan Brightbill
ZELDA by Hanna Weg
BFF by Jenni Konner & Alli Rushfield
EAGLE EYE by Hilary Seitz
IN by Bess Wohl
MAN AND WIFE by Lorene Scafaria
MAN UNDER by Ann Cherkis
SEX AND SYLVIA PLATH by Jennifer O’Kieffe

Keep this caveat in mind: "This is also a "big dick" measuring contest for the Hollywood agencies and their motion picture lit departments: the most screenplays on the list were repped by Creative Artists Agency, followed closely by (in order of quantity) William Morris Agency, United Talent Agency, Endeavor, Paradigm, International Creative Management, and Gersh. Problem is, some screenwriters tell me this list isn't on the level because it consists of mainly junior studio execs and assistants along with self-interested agents and managers getting together to push their own clients and projects some of which have already been abandoned. " Deadline Hollywood
San Francisco Film Critics Circle
ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY - "The Savages" by Tamara Jenkins
ADAPTED SCREENPLAY - "Away from Her" by Sarah Polley
ACTRESS - Julie Christie for "Away from Her"
SUPPORTING ACTRESS - Amy Ryan for "Gone Baby Gone"
MARLON RIGGS AWARD FOR COURAGE & VISION IN THE BAY AREA FILM COMMUNITY - Lynn Hershman-Leeson director of 2007's "Strange Culture," "Conceiving Ada" and "Teknolust"

Helen Hunt's directorial debut Then She Found Me will make its US debut at the Palm Spring International Film Festival on January 3. Film is also co-written and stars Hunt. Co-stars include Bette Midler, Colin Firth and Matthew Broderick.

Isabella Rosellini's series of short films Green Porno will be featured in the Berlin International Film Festival on February 8 (Indiewire)

An all African American cast will appear in the Debbie Allen directed Cat on a Hot Tin Roof on Broadway in March. Stellar cast includes: Terrence Howard, Phylicia Rashad, Anika Noni Rose and James Earl Jones.

December 11, 2007

December 11, 2007

Interview with Sarah Fain, Executive Producer of Women's Murder Club

Over the last six weeks of the writer's strike most of the voices have been male since they do make up 80% of the writer's guild. Women & Hollywood asked Sarah Fain, Executive Producer of the new ABC drama Women's Murder Club (ABC, 9pm) to talk about being a female writer in the TV business and how the strike has affected her and her show.

Women & Hollywood: You're in the middle of your first season on the Women's Murder Club and you are now on strike for the foreseeable future. How do you think this will effect the momentum of the show?

Sarah Fain: It's hard to say. At this point, there are so many possible scenarios. The strike could hurt us, it could help us, it could have a totally negligible impact, depending on how long we're out and what ABC's development looks like. It's something I really try not to think about (which doesn't mean it's not a good question-- I'm just trying to live in a certain amount of denial). I can tell you that we have a really great fan base, which pleases me to no end. And we all love working on the show. I've worked with some pretty fantastic groups of people, but our team on WMC is something special. So I hope we all get at least five years out of it.

W&H: Women are 20% of the writer's guild membership, and in TV they make up about 27% of the writers. Why do you think it is still so hard for women writers to break into Hollywood?

SF: Depressing numbers. Yikes. Liz (my writing partner) and I talked a little bit about this whole woman-writer thing in Written By a couple months ago. It was a bit of a relief, because it's something we've been hesitant to talk about with any degree of candor for a long time. And I'll still be somewhat restrained, because we're not sitting in my living room bullshitting with martinis and cigarettes. Although I don't smoke anymore. And I don't drink nearly enough. And my living room's a mess.

Anyhoo-- there's no question that there's a certain amount of sexism in this town. Probably in every town and every industry. For the most part, we just let it roll gracefully off our backs. I think if you're not willing to do that, it's harder to succeed. Which is screwed up and sad, but true. It's just harder for women-- and it's not like it's easy for men. Why is it harder for women to break in? I wish I had a good, specific answer for that. But it's all so subtle. I will say that I think it's getting easier. There are great men out there who really don't operate that way-- like Joss Whedon and Shawn Ryan, both of whom we've been fortunate enough to work for. And there are a lot of amazing women role models. People like Dawn Prestwich and Nicole Yorkin, Barbara Hall, and Yvette Lee Bowser. They made it easier for us, and hopefully we'll make it easier for the folks who come around next.

W&H: Most of the voices we've heard about the strike has been male comedy writers. Can you let us know why you support this strike? Since women have fewer positions as writers do you think the strike will have a more adverse effect on women?

SF: This strike sucks for everyone. I think most of the voices out there have been male comedy writers because there are just so MANY of them. Throw a dart in this town and you'll hit a male comedy writer. Or the model/actress he's standing next to (read: hitting on). And I say that with love. There are many male comedy writers I adore. But you're seeing them on the news because... well, they like to talk. A lot. It can be annoying. But the issues are the same for all of us. We all have a lot to lose-- as do the actors, directors, and crews.

W&H: Most people don't know the term showrunner. Can you explain a bit about what you do and how in TV the Executive Producers are writers where in film they are not.

SF: Showrunners are basically the people who carry the vision of the show and make sure that vision is being implemented throughout the process of creating a series-- in the scripts, in casting, in the directing, editing, music, etc. Since Women's Murder Club is our first show, we're lucky to have Scott Gemmill as our co-showrunner. Which is extremely handy, because there's a lot to do, and we can all split things up when it gets nuts. On any given day, a we'll be in the writers' room (hopefully) approving story ideas, giving notes on outlines and scripts, re-writing, sitting in casting or approving casting tapes, making notes on cuts or sitting in editing, taking notes calls from studio and network executives, approving production choices in any number of arenas (sets, wardrobe, props, etc.), toning directors, and managing whatever crisis happens to arise. It's pretty much the best job there is-- never boring, always engaging, creative, and of course insanely stressful.

The difference between being a feature writer and a television writer is pretty huge. The entire structure of television is about educating writers in the process of making a show (at least it should be), so that they can be producers and showrunners. You start out as a Staff Writer, then move up the ranks through Story Editor, Executive Story Editor, Co-Producer, Producer, Supervising Producer, Co-Executive Producer, and Executive Producer. Each title basically indicates an increased level of experience-- not just as a writer, but as someone who can also produce a show. In television, the writers are in charge. We hire directors, and they are expected to execute our vision. In features, writers are less empowered. Once a film script is sold, writers are significantly less involved in the production process. It's safe to say that they're usually not involved at all. Film is a director's medium. TV is a writer's medium.

W&H: TV is much more receptive to women's voices than film is; and ABC is the most female friendly network outside of Lifetime. Why is TV a more welcoming medium for women's voices and women leads?

SF: I can't speak to film, but in television... it's all about the numbers. ABC has only gradually moved into its current female friendly state of being. It took shows like Desperate Housewives for anyone (but Lifetime) to realize that there was a goldmine in shows that particularly appeal to women. And ABC has been extraordinarily successful in tailoring their programming to the fairer sex. It's cynical, perhaps, but it's really all about money. They make shows that appeal to women, women watch the shows in large numbers, they make advertising dollars. What I will say about ABC in particular is that across the board, their shows don't talk down to women-- which is probably why we watch them.

W&H: What advice can you give a person struggling to break into the TV writing game in Hollywood?

SF: Succeeding as a television writer is, in some ways, a war of attrition. It takes time to break in. So if you're not willing to give it three to five years, you might as well go home. And even in three to five years, you may not get anywhere. The harsh truth is that it's all a crapshoot. I've been really lucky, and worked really hard. I'm not sure which was more important-- the luck or the hard work. I wouldn't have made it without both.

I definitely recommend getting into a writers' group. It's important to keep producing material, to keep improving. It keeps you motivated and helps you develop a thick skin. Which you're gonna need. Getting to know writers is crucial. When Liz and I first stared trying to get into tv, our old agent told us to make friends with as many successful television writers as we could. At the time, I was Lauren Holly's second assistant, which basically entailed brushing her dogs' teeth and making pedicure appointments. Liz was making $9000 a year writing young adult books. We thought our agent was insane. How were we supposed to meet successful television writers? Like, what, is there some corner in Brentwood where all the television writers hang out? And then we met one tv writer (just happened to be Bob Fisher, who eventually co-wrote Wedding Crashers), then another, then another... and now everyone I know is a tv writer, and all I want to know is where's the corner with the nice, single, professor-types?

Great and honest interview in the Washington Post with Gabrielle Union star of the new film Last Holiday
Some quotes:

In Hollywood, you play a mom and instantly, you've got osteoporosis. I didn't want to age myself.
I'm lobbying Congress [about funding for rape crisis centers], advocating for breast cancer awareness. . . . I'm busting my [heinie], why are you assassinating my character? When I'm about the only one saying anything about our community? . . . Why do we subscribe to a crabs-in-the-barrel mentality? If I was getting arrested, if I had kids I don't take care of, if I was walking outside without my underwear, I'd get it, I deserve it. . .
A fact of birth puts me behind the eight ball. . . . The biggest roadblock is ignorance and getting people to change their minds about who can play what. Hollywood panders to the 18-to-34 crowd. That demographic doesn't care about race and the package it comes in. They care about the hottest chick. They just like hot chicks. . . . I was talking to my girlfriends, and we were talking about how no woman of color has her own show. Except America Ferrera and "Ugly Betty." . . . Reality TV looks more like America than movies do. But as bad as [African American actresses] have it, Latinas, Asians, Middle Easterners or anyone who's a combination of that has it way worse. . . . If a movie is under $10 million, then it's a black movie. "Bad Boys II" had only one white guy, but no one said it was a black movie. No one asks the cast of "Lord of the Rings," "How does it feel to be in a movie that doesn't represent what America really looks like?" (Washington Post)

Gabrielle Union, Relishing Her Latest Holiday Treat

More Awards
NY Film Critics
Best Actress: Julie Christie, "Away from Her"
Best Supporting Actress: Amy Ryan, "Gone Baby Gone"
Best First Film: Sarah Polley, "Away from Her"
Best Animated Film: "Persepolis," directed by Vincent Paronnaud and Marjane Satrapi

Bahamas International Film Festival
Dramatic Prize- "The Iron Ladies of Liberia" by Daniel Junge and and Siatta Scott Johnson
New Vision award - "I'm Through with White Girls" by Jennifer Sharp.
Lifetime Achievement Award- Daryl Hannah
Rising Star Award- Naomie Harris

Broadcast Film Critics nominations (supposedly largest critics org, with 200 TV, radio and online critics.)

Amy Adams — Enchanted
Cate Blanchett — Elizabeth: The Golden Age
Julie Christie — Away From Her
Marion Cotillard — La Vie en Rose
Angelina Jolie — A Mighty Heart
Ellen Page — Juno

Cate Blanchett — I’m Not There
Catherine Keener — Into the Wild
Vanessa Redgrave — Atonement
Amy Ryan — Gone Baby Gone
Tilda Swinton — Michael Clayton


no women!!!

Diablo Cody — Juno
Nancy Oliver — Lars and the Real Girl


Nikki Blonsky — Hairspray
Dakota Blue Richards — The Golden Compass
AnnaSophia Robb — Bridge to Terabithia
Saoirse Ronan — Atonement


August Rush
The Golden Compass

Tin Man

4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days
La Vie en Rose
The Orphanage

Come So Far — Queen Latifah, Nikki Blonsky, Zac Efron, Elijah Kelley — Hairspray
Do You Feel Me — Anthony Hamilton — American Gangster
That’s How You Know — Amy Adams — Enchanted

"Sandra Bullock is attached to star in comedy "One of the Guys," which she's producing with Todd Garner for 20th Century Fox. Project is based on a pitch by brothers Tom and Tim Mullen. Story is about a woman who throws her all-male circle of friends into chaos when she embraces her feminine side." (Variety)
Sounds like another male slanted movie that just happens to have a woman as the lead. These are the scripts our top-tier female actresses have to choose from. Yuck.

December 10, 2007

December 10, 2007

Women Dominate the Weekend Box Office
I'm going to put a positive spin on the supposed flop of The Golden Compass at the box office. I did see the film yesterday and enjoyed it very much. Dakota Blue Richards is fantastic as Lyra, a girl destined for greatness, which we hardly ever see at the movies. I think that kids will like it, all the political stuff will go over their heads and they will enjoy the polar bear fights. Hopefully it will be given some chance over the next couple of weeks to get an audience. Film made $26.1 million domestically and did quite well overseas raking in $55 million.

While no one can say if the church boycott made any difference in the grosses (I think people really wanted this movie to fail for some sick and bizarre reason- is it hatred for Michael Lynne after he kicked ass for several years with Lord of the Rings which no other studio would do?)

One of the things about this whole issue that makes me crazy is the wanting to have it both ways about movies. Do films make an impact in people's lives, or are they just movies designed for escapism and entertainment? I believe that some films are made to put forward a certain message. Those movies are usually smaller. I don't believe that a studio investing upwards of $180 million is stupid enough to make an anti-church movie. They were looking to make a broad based movie based on a very popular book. People need to get over themselves and take the movie for what it is - a fantasy. I mean a girl saving the world? Got to be a fantasy cause it sure ain't any reality I've seen.

Enchanted held on to the number 2 slot with $10.7 million for a total of $83.9 million in three weeks. Juno also kicked butt with an average of $60,000 per screen in limited release at seven locations. The theatre where I was yesterday was packed with people wanting to see Juno. Atonement also did very well with a $25,000 per screen average.

Are manly men back in vogue? (Did they ever go away?)
The LA Times ran a piece yesterday attempting to analyze the return of the manly men - like Indiana Jones, Rambo, John McLaine (Die Hard) to the big screen.

Writer Peter Rainer pushes a political connection between Reagan and George W. Bush

I don't want to overplay the parallels between the Reagan and George W. Bush years, but might the backwash of a colossally unpopular war have something to do with the fact that so many of our movies are -- how can I say this politely? -- atavistic?
Gee Peter, you think? Maybe one should pick up Susan Faludi's new book which discusses the return to masculinity since the towers came down. Rainer also goes on and talks about slasher films and modern masculinity but he never mentions once is women and how this retro machoness and acceptable and exulted warrior behavior effects women.
Screen test(osterone) (LA Times)

More Awards
New York Film Critics Online
Actress - Julie Christie, "Away from Her"
Supporting Actress - Cate Blanchett," I'm Not There"
Breakthrough Performer - Ellen Page, "Juno"
Debut Director - Sarah Polley, "Away from Her"
Foreign Language - (tie) "Persepolis"
Animated - Persepolis"

LA Film Critics Association

Actress - Marion Cotillard, "La Vie en Rose"
Supporting Actress- Amy Ryan, "Gone Baby Gone"
Foreign Film- "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days,"

Washington, D.C. Area Film Critics Assn.
Actress- Julie Christie, "Away from Her"
Supporting Actress- Amy Ryan, "Gone Baby Gone"
Breakthrough performance- Ellen Page, "Juno"
Screenplay- Diablo Cody, "Juno"

Boston Critics
Actress- Marion Cotillard, "La Vie en Rose"
Supporting Actress- Amy Ryan, "Gone Baby Gone"

Debra Winger will be honored at the Texas Film Hall of Fame awards to be held March 7 in Austin, TX. Winger will accept the Tiffany & Co. Star of Texas Award on behalf of the cast and crew of "Urban Cowboy," which was set and shot in Texas. (Indiewire)

Mary Olive Smith's "A Walk to Beautiful" won the top prize at the International Documentary Association (IDA) Distinguished Documentary Achievement Awards on Friday night in Los Angeles. It is described as the story of "five courageous women in Ethiopia who have suffered from devastating childbirth injuries and have been shunned by their family and villages." (Indiewire)