A Celebration of Women in Film (in 2017)

On the night of the Globes, the women of Hollywood showed up dressed in black. They stood in solidarity for their fellow actresses who had been victimized by men like Harvey Weinstein, Louis C.K., Matt Lauer, and Brett Ratner. They told the world that “Time’s Up” on rampant sexual misconduct for women in Hollywood.

 

We found out a lot of bad things about the status of women in Hollywood last year. And the response was beautiful. However, I also think it is beneficial to celebrate the successes of women in Hollywood last year. Oscar nominations have just come out, and the big day approaches. Let’s talk about what went totally right for women in the movie biz this year.

1) Tiffany Haddish and the rest of the cast of Girl’s Trip proved to the world that black female comedy can make a killing at the box office. Haddish is a queen and I hope you all have heard her incredible Jada and Will Smith story. Additionally, Tracy Oliver is the first female African-American screenwriter to make $100 million at the box office, AND the movie is the first with an all-black team to earn that much, as well.

 

2) Kenyon alumnus plug: Allison Janney exists. The woman is bringing home every award for her terrifying and funny performance as Tonya Harding’s mother in I, Tonya. She FINALLY got her Golden Globe after YEARS of being nominated for The West Wing. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: ALLISON JANNEY IS MY FAVORITE KENYON ALUM.

 

3) Big Little Lies happened. And it was amazing. And Nicole Kidman got to keep saying beautiful things about women every time she picked up an award for it. The scenes in which she divulges the truth about her husband’s (played by Alexander Skarsgard) abuse and torment were so beautiful and pertinent to our modern moment.

 

4) Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon played two absolute icons in Feud: Bette and Joan. Two legendary women playing two legendary women. Wow.

 

5) Hulu made The Handmaid’s Tale, adapting an iconic piece of feminist literature into a beautiful television series. Take a look at Elisabeth Moss’s acceptance speech after she won the Golden Globe for her portrayal of June/Offred.

6) Speaking of acceptance speeches, HELLO OPRAH. THANK YOU. This speech had me in tears and snaps and applause the whole way down.

 

7) Greta Gerwig made Lady Bird. She made what is now the only coming of age story that matters to me. (Sorry, Perks of Being a Wallflower.) And then she kept getting snubbed over and over again by all the major award shows, and FINALLY the Oscars came through and gave that nom to my girl. (Fun fact: There are only two white men nominated for the Best Directing Oscar this year. The other three slots are comprised of Gerwig and two men of color: Jordan Peele and Guillermo del Toro.)

 

8) I sat in the movie theatre and cried my eyes out within 10 minutes of the Wonder Woman story. It felt so so amazing and cathartic and empowering to finally get to see a woman kick ass on the big screen as a superhero the way that I’ve watched man after man after man do it all these years.

9) Charlize Theron played a hot gay action hero queen John Wick badass in Atomic Blonde???? And they didn’t force a love story between her and James McAvoy’s character?? Amazing!

 

10) At the 2017 Oscars, Joi McMillon became the first black woman nominated for film editing for Moonlight.

 

11) At those same Oscars, with an award for Best Supporting Actress for Fences, Viola Davis became the first black actress to win an Emmy, Oscar, and Tony.

 

12) The three top grossing movies of 2017 starred women: Beauty and the Beast, The Last Jedi, and Wonder Woman! So, the claim of “movies led by women just don’t make money and that’s why they aren’t made” is just blatantly false.

13) Emma Watson won the first ever gender neutral acting award for Beauty and the Beast. I hope other awards shows are inspired by this but do it in a way that doesn’t disproportionately favor men and still allows for the same amount of actors to be honored. (I wouldn’t want to go from four actors winning awards at the Oscars to only two.) Still, go MTV and go Emma Watson.

 

14) A Fantastic Woman is nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at this year’s Academy Awards. Daniela Vega plays the lead role of Marina, a trans woman who pushes up against those who question her gender identity and the right to be her most authentic self. Vega is also the first openly transgender actress and model in Chile. (FUN FACT: This year, Yance Ford, director of Strong Island, is the first trans director to earn a nomination)

15) Of the nine movies nominated for Best Picture, three are led by women: The Shape of Water, Lady Bird, and Three Billboards. The women playing those leads are all strong female characters who represent the kind of full, beautiful roles for women that we still need more of in Hollywood.

 

16) Let’s just give Frances McDormand awards for the rest of her life, so she can keep giving the best speeches in the world.

 

None of this is to say that the progress for women in Hollywood is done. We haven’t reached equality yet. Progress is slow. It comes when the women in Hollywood and the women in the audience keeping fighting and demanding equal opportunity. However, I am proud to say that progress was made this year. With the Academy Awards and SAG releasing new codes of conduct for their members in light of #MeToo and #TimesUp, it is clear that change is coming—and I can’t wait to see what is to come in 2018.

Image Credit: Feature, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5