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GENDER WATCH: The Telling Ignorance of THR's Directors Roundtable

by Sophia Savage
November 17, 2011 4:29 PM
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THR Roundtable, "Pariah," "We Need To Talk About Kevin," "Circumstance"

We don't blame Women and Hollywood for being outraged at THR's careless and condescending approach to their 2011 Directors Roundtable. While we agree that Michel Hazanavicius ("The Artist"), Steve McQueen ("Shame"), Bennett Miller ("Moneyball"), Mike Mills ("Beginners"), Alexander Payne ("The Descendants") and Jason Reitman ("Young Adult") are well worth interviewing, there are plenty more who could easily be sitting there with THR's Matthew Belloni and Stephen Galloway -- including several women.

At the same time as THR's Directors Roundtable should be thoughtfully curated, it should be representative of the year in film--whether it's an Awards publicity tool or not. Consider this specific portion of the roundtable:

THR: You're all men, and only one of you, Steve, is a minority -- why is that?
McQueen: I must be in America.
Mills: Yeah, why isn't there a woman here? My wife could be sitting here.
THR: Name a female director who made a major film this year.
Mills: Miranda July ["The Future"].
Payne: Lynne Ramsay ["We Need to Talk About Kevin"], Andrea Arnold ["Wuthering Heights"].
THR: OK, but you're talking about small films that have been little seen in America.
McQueen: I mean, the question could be different. The question could be, "Why aren't there more black directors?" because there are obviously more women directors than black directors.
THR: So what's the answer?
McQueen: I have no idea. I mean, it's opportunity, isn't it? That's what it's about -- opportunity. And access, because some people just give up. I'm always astonished by American filmmakers, particularly living in certain areas, when they never cast one black person, or have never put them in a lead in the movie. I'm astonished. It's shameful. How do you live in New York and not cast a black actor or a Latino actor? It's shameful. It's unbelievable.
Reitman: Not stepping into that.
Miller: I don't know.

First of all, the questions are uninformed and presumptuous. The directors themselves are better versed in the films of 2011 (too bad they couldn't have interviewed each other).

Then, after getting three examples of women who've directed quality films this year (Women and Hollywood adds to that list with Maryam Keshavarz - "Circumstance," Dee Rees - "Pariah," Larysa Kondracki - "The Whistleblower";  and so can we: Céline Sciamma - "Tomboy," Julia Leigh - "Sleeping Beauty," Sarah Polley - "Take this Waltz," Andrea Arnold* - "Wuthering Heights"), THR contradicts and justifies itself by calling these "small films" that have been "little seen." Perhaps, but as of right now the general public also hasn't seen "The Artist," "The Descendants," "Shame" or "Young Adult," which could also be called "small films."

While McQueen may be a minority among these six directors, the focus of each of their films is on white characters, and only "Young Adult" features a female protagonist (and she's a raging bitch). "Tomboy" focuses on a young girl who wants to be a boy; "Circumstance" is about female sexuality and sexism within the Iranian culture; "Sleeping Beauty" looks at the objectification of women; "Kevin" deals with an ugly side of motherhood; "Pariah" looks at race and female sexuality, "Wuthering Heights" is a gothic period romance with a black man replacing a white male protagonist. Not only are these films dealing with more diverse subject matter than the films of the six roundtable directors - they are all significantly more threatening to the comfort of white males, which is why they are dismissed as "small" and "little seen." "The Artist" is about a man's ego, "Shame" is about a man's addiction to sex, "Moneyball" is about changing the rules of baseball, "The Descendants" is about a wealthy landowner (with some Hawaiian blood) seeking revenge on the guy who banged his cheating wife, and "Beginners" is about a man who's trying to figure out how to grow up and deal with his dying gay Dad.

Let's open our eyes. If the media is a filter through which the public digests the culture, we should serve a full buffet. Otherwise we're part of the problem.

*"Wuthering Heights" played Venice, Toronto, and many other fests. While not being released this year, it is worth mentioning as the follow up to Arnold's "Fish Tank."


  • Dan Mueller | November 24, 2011 3:41 PMReply

    Be part of the solution…
    To make the changes desired, be the change and support the solutions. In my case, I started a game studio focused on quality family entertainment including our first game Jerry Rice & Nitus' Dog Football. We produce products you can be happy your kids are interacting with and provide you an opportunity to play along with your kids. Further, we made sure that we had an equal number of female and male characters, and where ALL game characters have been focus tested extensively with kids and parents before going in to the game. I recommend those against the inappropriate portrayal of females in game media buy a copy and tell their friends to do so... then we will make more products like these. :) A bonus would be if Obama would fix the Accredited Investor requirements so that people who wish to invest in our company would be allowed to do so... you know... support that whole "support small business" and "opportunity for wealth for all" concept he claims to believe in...

  • Mike | November 22, 2011 9:12 AMReply

    Some of the people who commented below should be ashamed of themselves. I'm talking specifically about the ignorant comments from cinedog and Shawn that make it seem as if there is no racism at play in Hollywood.

    A UCLA statistic showed that for lead roles in Hollywood the amount of non whites that get casted are 11.1% Blacks, 1.2% Latino and 1.8% Asian. You could not make an argument that equality exists when you see real numbers like that. If one were to use population as a measure it would be much lower than the actual people who live in the U.S. and it would be even lower if one would use the amount of actual movie ticket buyers as the measure because according to the MPAA 40% of them are nonwhite. Yet over 80% of lead roles in Hollywood go to white actors. There is no doubt about it. Racism is the problem.

    The core problem is that the media is white supremacist since all of it is owned by whites and are cut from the same cloth as the people who started it decades ago. Everybody exposed to this kind of media and is not mentally prepared for it will take it in and it will form minds to see only whites as the default, as the beautiful, as the center of the universe, etc... Studies, like the famous Clark doll test, prove how a white supremacist environment will effect the minds of even children of color to think less of their own kind.

    The fact that the white directors on the panel had nothing to say about the issue of why nonwhites aren't hired as leads says plenty about why this enormous and disgusting problem exists in the American film industry.

    I certainly hope that Steve McQueen will do something about this in future movies because his first two were with white leads. His third is about slavery which is obvious it would have a black lead but I hope after that more of his films will continue to feature people of color as leads.

    Finally, while I appreciate the author of this article bringing to light the lack of female representation in the field of directing, especially on that panel, I do not appreciate completely belittling the issue of nonwhites not being casted as leads. Even the point that McQueen is relevant that there are more white female directors than black directors. Yet, you ignore that and only concentrate on the female portion going as far as to not even acknowledge the significant moment when none of the white directors had anything to say in regards to why nonwhites are not casted often as leads.

    I highly doubt you are a female of color as even your transcript is biased. When asked to name one female director it was Black British director Steve McQueen that said Lynne Ramsay's name first before Alexander Payne but you note it as if it was only Payne.

  • Craig Ranapia | November 22, 2011 6:15 AMReply

    "only "Young Adult" features a female protagonist (and she's a raging bitch). "Tomboy" focuses on a young girl who wants to be a boy;"

    Woah, please continue calling out Hollywood sexism but you might want to think about what you just did there. Have you actually seen 'Tomboy' because I don't think Celine Sciamma made the film you seem to think she did.

  • Miss Jones | November 21, 2011 2:07 PMReply

    I love how Steve basically lets the world know where he stands with regards to Race in film. I think he is spot on. I know a lot of Non black folks or maybe even black folks who have stopped caring are wondering why in almost 2012 Race is still on the forefront. Because RACE matters. There isn't anything wrong with saying "Hey, why aren't there more people of color" on the big screen? Its a fact of life and its time someone stood up and said something.

  • JP | November 18, 2011 1:13 PMReply

    Including "Sleeping Beauty," which was panned across the board at Cannes, as a "quality" film only because it had a female director (Julia Leigh) is really grasping at straws.

  • Beth Hanna | November 18, 2011 2:51 PM


    Have you seen "Sleeping Beauty"? I thought it was excellent, one of the best of the year.

    A film being "panned across the board" at Cannes does not necessarily mean that said film doesn't have quality or merit. Plenty of films now considered classics were panned upon initial screening/release.

    (Also, did you read every review of the film in order to come to the conclusion that no one liked it "across the board"? Critic Manohla Dargis of the NY Times was impressed by it, as was British critic Guy Lodge.)

  • cinedog | November 18, 2011 1:09 PMReply

    "there are constantly Mia Wasikowska's, Rooney Mara's, Amanda Seyfried's, and Carrie Mulligan's popping up who come on the scene and get every role imaginable. What about Jurnee Smolett? Nicole Beharie? Nate Parker? Anthony Mackie? Michael K. Williams? Denzel Whitaker?"

    Sorry, but it's hard to take a comment like this seriously when the poster hasn't grasped the proper usage of apostrophes.

    And probably except for Mackie, not many people have even heard of these other actors and it has nothing to do with race.

  • blaqbird | November 19, 2011 3:09 PM

    Seems like some of my comment is missing for some reason. Smollett was most recently on The Defenders on CBS and Friday Night Lights. She's also filming Tyler Perry's new movie, The Marriage Counselor (if you're into TP movies).

  • blaqbird | November 19, 2011 3:07 PM

    "And probably except for Mackie, not many people have even heard of these other actors and it has nothing to do with race."

    Well I have to disagree a bit here. Jurnee Smollett has been acting since she was a child and was cast in Full House as Michelle's best friend, Eve's Bayou, On Our Own (a short-lived tv show in the early 90s). Michael K. Williams was in The Wire and is currently on Boardwalk Empire and Community. These two actors should be more familiar to audiences, but they're not. I will challenge you and say that it is because they are black. Now hear me out. I'm not saying that this is the case all the time, because it isn't. However, it is easier to overlook people of color as opposed to say, Elizabeth Olsen or Greta Gerwig. Williams and Smollett have been around for a very long time, Smollett longer than Mulligan, Seyfriend, and Mara. Audiences have just decided not to pay attention to them.

    Denzel Whitaker, Nate Parker and Nicole Beharie are fairly new to the scene so I wouldn't expect all audiences to know who they are yet. However, Beharie is slowly making her way. She's in McQueen's Shame and The Last Fall (which hasn't been released yet). She also had a recurring role on The Good Wife.

    Black people who are into film do have a better grasp of who these actors are than our White counterparts. It is what it is. If you don't think so, I suggest you head over to Shadow & Act which is apart of the Indiewire blog network and take a look.

  • Dana Kephart | November 18, 2011 12:13 PMReply


  • SohoDriver | November 18, 2011 7:06 AMReply

    Okay, whilst I agree with you that what THR did was completely unjustified, ignorant and should certainly be reprimanded for that horrible interview, I fail to see why you decided to attack the males at the end of your article. That was completely uncalled for. "The Artist is about a man's ego, "Shame" is about a man's addiction to sex, "Moneyball" is about changing the rules of baseball" say these things as if they are subjects that can be discussed in an offhand manner, as they do not deal with subjects of sexism or how a woman came to triumph over a man.

    I do realize that I may be overreacting, and if you truly didn't mean to patronizingly describe said films, then I apologize. However, I find it quite irritating that, after complaining (and yes, you are right to complain, I COMPLETELY agree with you there) about how THR put down the female directors like that, you then go and make it out like the women directors of this year all dealt with much better subjects because they are women, and are therefore on higher maturity levels and know how to deal with emotional resonance.

    As a male, I was deeply offended at the insinuation. If I am looking too much into this, and your penultimate paragraph was just a case of poorly used words considering the situation, then I do genuinely apologize. I sincerely hope you do not think that the female directors this year all delivered much more mature, intelligent films because some of them dealed with discriminatory situations.

    If there is one thing to have been learned from this whole THR ordeal, it is that males and females are completely and utterly equal. Neither is remotely better or worse than the other, only individuals can make that claim. It shouldn't matter if you're a woman or a man, if you direct a good film, you direct a good film.

  • Sophia Savage | November 18, 2011 12:03 PM

    I didn't attack the male directors. I was pointing out a trend -- that they almost all deal with issues from a male perspective. And that's fine, I enjoyed all of their movies, but since half the population is female, and we theoretically live in an "equal" society, we shouldn't be afraid to support and highlight films from women and about women, nor should we be ignorant to the fact that these films exist.

  • cinephile | November 18, 2011 6:36 AMReply

    So good to bring that up Sophia. It's really an incredible that there are not some female filmmakers invited.
    Miranda July's film is a small one, yes, but it was at the Berlin Film Festival.
    Phillida Loyd's "Iron Lady" is a big film.
    Lynne Ramsays's film won at the London Film Festival and was in competition at the Cannes Film Festival.
    and so on and on and on.

    And it's understandable that McQueen makes this a topic about black directors, but I think this discussion should have focused on the lack of WOMEN filmmakers.

    The supposedly concerned, but actually condescending question "Name one woman filmmaker who's made a film this year" is a self-fulfilling prophecy. He acts like there are NO female directors at all, and thus this perception and the lack of opportunity for them will continue.

  • Mike | November 22, 2011 8:48 AM

    Talk about projecting, cinephile. McQueen did not make "this a topic about black directors". He was asked the question directly. That's why he reacted the way he did by saying, "I must be in America".

    Clearly you are not a person of color because you think the subject of people of color is less important than "women" and really it's not about "women" you care about so much as specifically "white women". That right there is proof of white privilege because people of color includes men AND women but to you that isn't important. It's just white women.

  • Cinesnatch | November 18, 2011 2:21 AMReply

    It's really outrageous for the THR to be so glaringly, shamelessly sexist. Lynne Ramsey should have been included for some diversity ... at a minimum.

  • What a Joke | November 18, 2011 2:02 AMReply

    McQueen is a hypocrite and a wanna-be. The Two movies he's made thus far (Hunger and Shame) star white people and are about white people (both star Fassbender). So it's ridiculous that he thinks he can take a stand against not casting black people. Furthermore, he's BRITISH! I am, by no means, saying that it was a walk in the park to grow up as a black man in the UK...but the UK is no USA. His "solidarity" with "African-Americans" is such crap.

    The real issue I have with him is that he's never made a movie about something he innately and intrinsically understands. Hunger was about Irish prisoners on a hunger strike. Shame is about a NEW YORKER who's addicted to sex. (BTW: all the leads in this are Brits playing Americans...which is another issue...but also outrageous). His upcoming picture "Twelve Years a Slave" is about an AMERICAN SLAVE -- kidnapped in NYC and sent to work the fields in the American South. Three Films that, if we're being honest, he knows nothing about personally.

    The Great Directors -- Allen, Scorsese, Kazan, etc., etc. -- (whom, one could argue are the "target' of McQueen's "no black actors" rant) made their name and their mark on the history of film by making movies about people and places they knew...and knew inside and out. All the press on Shame is about Fassbender's preformance...and if you read all Fassbender's interviews and the reviews, it's common knowledge that Fassbender created the character not FROM the page, but DESPITE what was on the page. All accounts are that McQueen's script for this was not fully flushed out -- and, to my point, how could it be...he's not a white-New Yorker/sex addict.

    Get off it, McQueen. You're a British Man with African Ancestry. You are not American. You are not African American! Stop trying to be.

  • Jaygee | November 20, 2011 6:29 PM

    Since we're all playing -- or preying -- on the race/culture/ethnicity dialectic, try this one: McQueen's films or any of others, which incidentally frames this discussion singularly in black vs. white terms, don't mean a thing to the Asian diaspora in the States -- the "Yellow." Neither do they mean anything to 2 billion Chinese.

  • What A Joke | November 18, 2011 3:43 PM

    KINDOFCULTURED -- First things first: I never said McQueen was worthless. I never said he was untalented. I've seen both of his films...they are quite good. But I do not thinks that they are going down in the pantheon of great films. --- Your argument about "Paris" and 'Schindler's" is a misunderstanding of what I was saying. First of all, Midnight in Paris is about a neurotic, self-loathing Jewish-American screen-writer who's nostalgically obsessed with 1920's Paris. Sounds very much like a lot of Woody's doppelganger characters. Schindler's List! Spielberg is a Jewish-American. He's telling the arduous journey of his ancestors. It also has a place on the all-time list of great movies...McQueen isn't in that league. You're "give him time" statement is a little silly...give me one good narrative reason that the lead in "Shame" could not have been black. Now, I said narrative...not economic. McQueen had time. He chose not to cast a black man. There is nothing in the story that mandates that Fassbender's character needs to be a white man. There just isn't. Now once you realize that, other factors start to creep in. As an African American, I personally would not have a problem with Shame starring a black man...but, boy-o-boy some people would. Headlines and columns proclaiming: "What are you trying to say? That all black men are sex addicts?" -- "What a disgusting stereotype!" etc. etc. etc. And therein lies the problem with casting ethnic groups. If the character is flawed there are certain groups that will start to get pissed. It is, sadly, the truth. McQueen is making a movie that is already "edgy" and "artsy" so I can understand not adding another layer to the "reasons for the general public to skip this movie" cake by raising the ire of the NAACP ( It's an understandable calculation. But don't make that calculation and then turn around and point fingers at people for ALSO not casting black-people.

  • What a Joke | November 18, 2011 3:15 PM

    JESSE -- I'm in no way saying that McQueen is unqualified to make those movies. But you help me prove my point by noting the later films of Scorsese. It wasn't until he made a name for himself that he branched out. One of my many points, was that someone like Scorsese got started making movies about people and places he knew well. It's this sort of intensely familiar material that allows his (and others) early work to endure. So when McQueen swings at anonymous offenders of the "not casting black people" crime, he is ignorantly overlooking the very issue that effects casting choices...and that is: What story a director wants to tell. It is ridiculous to criticize directors for "living in New York" and not casting black people when, if McQueen actually knew New York, it's very ethnically segregated city -- Movies about Jewish Americans, Italian Americans, and Irish American's shouldn't star African Americans. Where McQueen's finger should be pointing (if he wants to make an accurate and intelligent point...and not just verbally flail his arms) it's at the big-budget genre pictures. There's no reason that a black actor couldn't star in Eagle Eye, or The Transformers Movies instead of Shia Labeouf. There's not reason Jason Bourne needed to be white. Etc, etc etc. When it comes to genre films (action, horror, sci-fi) there is no good narrative reason to have a Caucasian in the lead role -- and we could actually have more African-American movie stars instead of just Will Smith and Denzel. But this is not the point McQueen was making...his aim was on random New York Directors.

  • Jesse | November 18, 2011 3:20 AM

    Steve McQueen is a 41 year old British man. He would have been just about a teenager when the events of Hunger took place (a major event in the ENTIRE UK) so to suggest that because he's not White Irish he knows nothing about the situation is ridiculous. He lived through that era in that region. Also, how do you know he doesn't battle sex addiction (or know someone who does) but wants to keep that private - he was obviously interested in exploring the subject. Lastly, you also bring up Allen, Scorsese and Kazan like they never made films outside their personal lives. Making personal films is not merely making autobiographies, it's putting who you are as a person into the film. Just because I'm a white, Canadian, Jew doesn't mean I can only make Mordecai Richler adaptations. Scorsese has made several films that have nothing to do with White-Male-Italian-New Yorkers. Have you seen any besides Mean Streets, Taxi Driver and Goodfellas? He's made a couple more you know. Some even star women (Alice, NYNY) or are period pieces (Innocence, Gangs and Aviator) from before he was born, how could he ever direct those? Ridiculous.

  • kindofcultured | November 18, 2011 2:55 AM

    OK, you're being too hard on Steve McQueen. Are you saying that Shame is worthless because McQueen isn't a white sex addict from New York? That is really confusing. If what you're saying is true, Midnight in Paris is also crap because Woody Allen isn't from Paris, Schlinder's List is crap because Stephen Spielberg and Steve Zallian aren't from Holocaust Germany. Art doesn't have to be autobiographical to be great or worthy. Also, the guy has only made two movies. Give him some time to prove that he can cast black actors. Wait, he already did! It was in 12 Years a Slave, which you even mentioned (Yes, I know Ejiofor is British, but I'm not complaining with things the way they are right now.)

  • Iamthenewblack | November 17, 2011 10:35 PMReply

    I hardly think it's racial bean counting when there is nothing to count. You named very few examples in comparison. It's really the absence of. The white washing. I'm glad you mentioned Spike Lee because most of Spike Lee movies have a diverse cast. I would challenge you to go through each Spike Lee movies through the years and juxtapose that with Scorcese and Allen. What is the general picture you gather from the comparison . I can only name She's Gotta Have It and School Daze as having an all black cast. I know you mentioned Spain and Asians but you have to admit that Black and White ppl have a unique history in this country. The statistics by race in movies are staggering in America, you would really have to be in a fantasy land not to see that or one of those people who laughably trumpets that we live in a colorblind society.

  • Shawn | November 18, 2011 5:35 AM

    First, I have to insist that every ethnic group in America has a unique history. Yeah, the story of African Americans and the epic journey from slavery to full equality under the law is central to American history so far, but other stories matter too and a filmmaker could spend a lifetime telling other stories with no racist intentions. Second, some of Lee's ethnic portrayals are considered offensive. Just so you know. Third, I would challenge you to also hold up Lee's oeuvre against Jarmusch's and Wang's, not to show that Lee's focus is narrow, because of course it's not, but just to show that there are different ways of approaching cultural diversity, and no one filmmaker can say it all. Do we really want to pick just one model and say this is the template all independent filmmakers must follow?

  • Shawn | November 17, 2011 10:21 PMReply

    Vera Farmiga (Higher Ground).

    The racial bean counting bugs me. McQueen seems to be talking about a general phenomenon rather than a particular director, but times have changed. Jarmusch has been casting black actors for years. Woody Allen cast Chiwetel Ejiofor as a lead in Miranda and Miranda, although few people noticed. And now Whit Stillman has cast an African American actress--incidentally another child of Igbo parents. Allen, Jarmusch and Stillman have all shot in Spain, and Allen has employed two of Spain's greatest actors in lead roles. Sidney Lumet, may he rest in peace, used black actors in substantial supporting roles and put Andy Garcia in a leading role--oh yeah, and he directed the Wiz. So who is McQueen talking about? Hal Hartley? Martin Scorsese?

    If there's a point to McQueen's criticism, is that something we want to see applied across the board? Who wants to look over Kasi Lemmons' shoulders to see how many white people she's cast? Who wants to make sure that McQueen is giving Asians the proper amount of screen time? Should we evaluate Spike Lee's oeuvre on the basis of his portrayals of Jews? Should we fault Dee Rees if she continues to focus on the African diaspora?

    I understand the reasoning behind affirmative action and I think the film industry could benefit from it. As film criticism, however, it sucks. New York is a center of independent cinema, not big studios. These independent directors largely begin by drawing from their own life experiences, and one truth about life in New York is that people have historically lived in ethnic enclaves. It takes time to grow and expand one's horizons, and not all growth is in the direction of casting black and latino actors in lead roles.

  • Iamthenewblack | November 17, 2011 10:02 PMReply

    I will pick up where Steve Mcqueen left off and say this post is shameful. I challenge you Mrs. Savage to name five Black directors let alone ones that came out with movies that are getting any type of attention this year, that is the real story. There are at least 2 or 3X more white women directors working than black women and men directors combined. Where is your outrage for that? Lest we forget who has benefited the most from Affirmative Action, I'll give you a clue: it's not black folks or white men. White Women make more in corporate America than both black men and black women, and there are constantly Mia Wasikowska's, Rooney Mara's, Amanda Seyfried's, and Carrie Mulligan's popping up who come on the scene and get every role imaginable. What about Jurnee Smolett? Nicole Beharie? Nate Parker? Anthony Mackie? Michael K. Williams? Denzel Whitaker? and many more black actors/actresses who do exceptional work, where are the roles, where is the OPPORTUNITY. This is what McQueen was getting at and it is far more egregious.

  • Jay | November 24, 2011 12:10 AM

    I think the real outrage is that talentless hacks like John Singleton and Lee Daniels have Oscar nominations for Best Director while Spike Lee, who has at least three masterpieces in his oeuvre, has yet to be recognized. Steve McQueen is proving, after just two films, that he is in the same league as Spike, hence, his chances of a nomination are less than zero.

  • jingmei | November 17, 2011 8:22 PMReply

    Tomboy is about a young boy who wants to be a girl, instead of the opposite transition. And any online live version of this awesome roundtable thanks.

  • Zach | November 17, 2011 7:23 PMReply

    Re: Jesse and Martha

    Despite the independent nature of the films that some of these men directed they are much more in Oscar contention that any female directed film. Even Shame is being given a strong push for Actor and Supporting Actress. Last year, the female director of The Kids are All Right was included. Of course, female directors need more attention in Hollywood but I don't think the roudtable choices bring a new (or really any) injustice to the table.

  • Jesse | November 18, 2011 3:28 AM

    I think you're actually stressing the very point. Why are the male directed films 'much more in contention?' Are they more deserving (having seen Meeks and Kevin, they are not)? Why aren't the fantastic films made by women recognized (or even known) by the publication that just won 'best entertainment site' or some bullshit at some bullshit awards. They should be championing any and all great films an filmmaking (the men do deserve to be there BUT so do some of the women). Otherwise, how will things ever change?

  • Jesse Carp | November 17, 2011 6:43 PMReply

    Excellent read. I also couldn't believe when the interviewer asked that question and couldn't name significant female directed films from this year (theatrical release). How about Kelly Reichardt's Meek's Cutoff, Phyllida Lloyd's Iron Lady (unseen in America but...) and Jennifer Yuh's Kung Fu Panda might sneak into the Animation race. Of course this is just naming a few.

  • Amused | November 17, 2011 6:16 PMReply


    Substitute other arts or pursuits in this unfortunate template and giggle freely about what a silly statement this is.
    "But you're talking about classical music that the average American doesn't listen to."
    "But you're talking about epic poems that nobody in America memorizes anymore."
    "But you're talking about traditional non-drug treatments that big pharmaceutical companies haven't packaged for distribution in chain drugstores."
    "But you're talking about people who ride bicycles or take the bus, not people who drive their own expensive automobiles."
    "But you're talking about people who read good writing instead of THR...."

  • Martha | November 17, 2011 6:05 PMReply

    Thank you!

    Honestly, last year women directed 1/2 of the top performing indies and yet still you must have a certain appendage to be considered a worthy director in many quarters, it seems. And re: Zach's comments, while I applaud the inclusion of an African American, I highly doubt Shame will be considered as a directing achievement in the Oscar race because it doesn't seem to be the sort of thing the Academy recognizes (not because it was or was not well-directed).

  • joanne | November 17, 2011 6:17 PM

    Steve McQueen is British. Not African American.

  • Zach | November 17, 2011 5:31 PMReply

    This is all well and good except this whole thing really surrounds the Oscar race and not great filmmaking, and its true that there are no female directors really in the Oscar race.

  • Jesse | November 17, 2011 6:50 PM

    Well Ramsey and Reichardt should/could be... And they have just as much of a chance as Mills or McQueen at a directing (no way either of those directors get nominated, McQueen's cinematographer Sean Bobbitt for sure and maybe Mill's screenplay plus their actors).

  • Sophia Savage | November 17, 2011 5:00 PMReply

    Feel free to add to our list - it's just a sampling of what THR forgot.

  • Jeanne | November 17, 2011 4:56 PMReply

    Thank you for this. I'd like to add Kelly Reichardt with "Meek's Cutoff" to the list. Best film of the year, in my humble (and female) opinion.

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