6 Influential Women in Hollywood History

After Frances McDormand’s inspiring speech for her Best Actress win at the 90th Academy Awards, host Jimmy Kimmel said, “I wish I was a woman. I really do.”

On a night where many were tuning in to acknowledge the achievements of women and the Me Too movement, this comment rubbed some the wrong way.

 Although it is about time that the women working in Hollywood receive the credit and fair treatment they deserve. After all, some of the people who shaped the very industry are women.

This is a list of 6 influential women in Hollywood that Kimmel wishes he could be.

Dorothy Dandridge

        Dandridge was an actress from the mid 1930s to the early 1960s. She appeared in over 30 films throughout her career. She is perhaps most known for her title role in the 1954 movie Carmen Jones, for which she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress. She is the first African-American actress to be nominated for this award. She later starred in the 1959 film Porgy and Bess, for which she was also nominated for a Golden Globe.


Sherry Lansing

In 1980, she became the first female president of 20th Century Fox. Under her leadership, Fox produced many hit films such as Forrest Gump and Braveheart. Lansing was also the first female movie studio head to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She is the last woman to have been the head of a major Hollywood film studio.




One can’t discuss influential women in Hollywood without mentioning Oprah. Best known for The Oprah Winfrey Show, she has been dubbed the “Queen of All Media.” Despite being born into poverty; Oprah rose through the ranks of daytime television during her early career. She was the first woman of colour in North America to be a multi-billionaire.


Euzhan Palcy

        Palcy became the first female African-American to direct for a major Hollywood studio when she directed A Dry White Season for MGM Studios. To research the film, which is about the social movements in South Africa, she travelled to South Africa and risked her life to research the apartheid. Palcy is also the first African-American (male or female) to direct an actor to an Oscar nomination.


Greta Gerwig

        Gerwig was one of the many fan favorites at the Academy Awards this year. After performing in many films since the early 2010s, Gerwig wrote and directed her first film Lady Bird, which was nominated for Best Picture this year. The coming of age story about a young female protagonist won the hearts of many all over the world. Gerwig is the fifth woman in history to be nominated for Best Director at the Oscars.