Brandy McDonnell

Brandy McDonnell writes features and reviews movies, music, events and the arts for The Oklahoman, Oklahoma's statewide newspaper, and NewsOK.com, the state's largest news Web site. Raised on a farm near Lindsay, Okla., she started her journalism career in seventh grade, when she was elected reporter for her school's 4-H Club. Taking her duties seriously, she began submitting stories to The Lindsay News, and worked for the local weekly through high school. She attended Oklahoma State University, where she worked for The Daily O'Collegian and earned her journalism degree with honors. She worked for three years at small Oklahoma dailies The Edmond Sun and Shawnee News-Star. In 2002, she joined The Oklahoman as a features reporter, writing about movies, the arts, events, families and nonprofits. She moved to The Oklahoman's entertainment desk in 2007. In 2004, she won a prestigious Journalism Fellowship in Child & Family Policy from the University of Maryland's Philip Merrill College of Journalism. Along with her membership in AWFJ, she also is a founding member of the Oklahoma Film Critics Circle.

 

Articles by Brandy McDonnell

 

OKLAHOMA CITY — Review by Brandy McDonnell

It may be heartrending and stomach-churning to watch, especially for Oklahoma natives and residents like me, but the new PBS documentary “Oklahoma City” is timely and vital viewing. The harrowing film, which made its world premiere last month at the Sundance Film Festival, does more than just recap the destruction wrought by Timothy McVeigh’s truck bomb. Read more on THE WEEK IN WOMEN.

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: RIP Mary Tyler Moore, plus news on Octavia Spencer, Lily Tomlin, Kristen Chenoweth and more — by Brandy McDonnell

In this THE WEEK IN WOMEN news roundup.we remember the wonderful Mary Tyler Moore, report on honors for Octavia Spencer and Lily Tomlin, follow Kristin Chenoweth’s praise for Lion for its treatment of adoption, and praise Kerry Washington as she urges courage at Sundance. Read more on THE WEEK IN WOMEN

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: 2017 Oscar Nominations — Brandy McDonnell comments

With the 2017 Oscar nominations, the Academy broke or tied multiple records. The movie musical “La La Land” earned a leading 14 nominations, putting it in a tie with “Titanic” and “All About Eve” for the most in Academy Awards history. Its nods include best picture, best director and best original screenplay for writer-director Damien Chazelle, best actress for Emma Stone and best actor for Ryan Gosling. How did they fare on gender parity and diversity? Read more on THE WEEK IN WOMEN

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: News wrap around Oscars, SAGs, Lily Tomlin Honored and More — Brandy McDonnell reports

lily tomlin headshotThe Academy will forego a live audience for the nomination announcements, instead livestreaming them at Oscars.org, which has caused quite a flap among publicists and members of the press. But everyone’s delighted that Jane Fonda and Dolly Parton will present SAGs Life Achievement Award to brilliant, all-round entertainment maverick Lily Tomlin during the 23rd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards. And more coursgeous female stars are speaking out to spark change in Hollywood. Read more on THE WEEK IN WOMEN.

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Carrie Fisher’s Princess Leia Legacy — Brandy McDonnell comments

princess leiaWhen my sister and I were kids during the 80s, it was ALWAYS a good time to play Star Wars. We were Star Wars diehards, determined to follow the good side, not the dark. But there was a problem: There was only one heroine in that far away galaxy. So, when it came time to play Stars Wars, tough decisions had to be made. Would one of us play Han Solo or Luke Skywalker? That was no good: We were tomboys, not boys. Sometimes we both played Princess Leia, and sometimes we created our own female characters — because when we were growing up there was only one woman who got to be a hero. And while that may have been severely limiting, at least Star Wars had one. Read more on THE WEEK IN WOMEN.

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Number of women directors falls, female characters have less to say — Brandy McDonnell reports

The number of female feature film directors has fallen, female characters have far less chance to talk in movies and there continues to be a huge gender pay gap in Hollywood. 2016 actually gave some reason to be hopeful about women in the movies. Disney released three stellar animated movies – Zootopia, Moana and Pixar’s Finding Dory — and all featuring female lead characters, none of them traditional damsels in distress. Women were leads in two smash sci-fi films with Arrival and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, with the latter becoming the second movie in the Star Wars saga to have a female lead. And the period drana Hidden Figures, based on real-life stories of African-American women who worked behind the scenes as mathematicians to help launch the first U.S. astronauts into space, is a hit at the box office. Read more on THE WEEK IN WOMEN.

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: ‘La La Land’ keeps dancing, ‘Moonlight’ still shining, ‘Kubo’ makes history — Brandy McDonnell reports

LLL d 41-42_6689.NEFLast weekend’s Golden Globes established La La Land as a clear front-runner — closely followed by Moonlight — in upcoming races for the prestigious awards doled out by the DGA, PGA, BAFTA and, ultimately, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Now, nominations have been announced by all but the Academy. To see how they compare, read Brandy McDonnell’s awards season update on THE WEEK IN WOMEN.

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Golden Globes and Wonder Woman, Space and Women Win Box Office – Brandy McDonnell reports

At the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s 74th annual Golden Globe Awards, La La Land took all seven awards for which it was nominated, while Meryl Streep, honored with the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award, took on Donald Trump for mocking a disabled reporter during his campaign. Streep called on the press to keep the powerful in check and for the Hollywood community to support the Committee to Protect Journalists. Wonder Woman, finally fighting her way to the silver screen, will open June 2. Hidden Figures and the blockbuster prequel Rogue One: A Star Wars Story finished in a virtual tie for first at the domestic box office. Read all the details on THE WEEK IN WOMEN

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Golden Globes So White? – Brandy McDonnell comments

The Golden Globes might actually be a revealing indicator of how Hollywood’s entire awards structure has responded to the #OscarsSoWhite controversy of the past few years. Again, the Globes have twice as many categories as the Oscars, honoring the best lead and supporting players in both drama and musical/comedy films. But this year’s fields are refreshingly diverse with nominees like Loving‘s Ruth Negga, Fences‘ Denzel Washington and Viola Davis, Hidden Figures‘ Octavia Spencer, Moonlight‘s Mahershala Ali and Naomie Harris and Lion‘s Dev Patel competing. Read more on THE WEEK IN WOMEN

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Geena Davis and Hollywood Gender Equality — Brandy McDonnell reports

geena-davisAfter more than a decade of commissioning research and advocating for change through her Institute on Gender and Media, Geena Davis says that she believes Hollywood may be at a “turning point” regarding gender equality. Speaking at Fast Company’s recent FCLA event, Davis said there has been a “tonal shift” over the last few years, especially with stars like Patricia Arquette, Jennifer Lawrence, and Natalie Portman showing they’re unafraid to speak up on the issue. Read more on THE WEEK IN WOMEN…

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: ZOOTOPIA comes home, Paul Feig on GHOSTBUSTERS backlash, MARY POPPINS sequel and more -Brandy McDonnell reports

zootopia posterWomen’s Week news roundup, covering the arrival of Zootopia on DVD and Blu-ray, Paul Feig response to all the Ghostbusters Ghostbusters’ backlash, Mary Poppins is set to return in a sequel, and Elizabeth Banks hands over the helm on Pitch Perfect 3 to pursue familial duties. Read more in THE WEEK IN WOMEN…

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Film Editor Carol Littleton Take on ET and Feminism — Brandy McDonnell reports

Carol LittletonIn the eight years she worked in the film industry before landing the job as editor on Steven Spielberg’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Carol Littleton dealt with both sexism and nepotism. But she refused to give up on her interesting moviemaking career. “I’ve never been militant about being feminist, but I am, and I have found ways to work as a woman in the film industry that was, certainly when I started, primarily men. I’ve worked in a man’s world the whole time, and I’ve just learned to be very patient, be very clear about how I see things and not be belligerent. That doesn’t get anybody anywhere.” Read more in THE WEEK IN WOMAN

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Summer Blockbusters and Women — Brandy McDonnell reports

It already promised to be a tough summer season for women-led films, with only three of the bevy of planned blockbusters featuring female protagonists. But it got off to an especially stormy start Memorial Day weekend with the uninspiring sequel “Alice Through the Looking Glass.” Read more on The Week In Women

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Jennifer Lopez spurs discussion of double standards — Brandy McDonnell Comments

JENNIFER LOPEZ 1Jennifer Lopez fights the diva label and ponders “I’ve always been fascinated by how much more well-behaved we have to be than men” in an actress roundtable discussion convened by The Hollywood Reporter. Lopez’s comments lead to the consideration of behavioral double standards. Read more in THE WEEK IN WOMEN…

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Women in Motion at Cannes, Jodie Foster in Hollywood and more –Brandy McDonnell reports

DAVIS SARANDONA year after the biggest news involving women at Cannes Film Festival was the controversy over a rule requiring women to wear high heels on the red carpet, there have been some strides made for women at France’s esteemed film fest. Kering’s Women in Motion initiative has honored Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon, and three women directors are competing for the prestigious Palme d’Or. But there’s still a long road ahead. Plus Jodie Foster says Hollywood is scared of women, and more. Read this week’s THE WEEK IN WOMEN

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: ‘Where Are The Women?’ Project, plus Geena Davis, Elizabeth Moss and Suzy Amis Cameron — Brandy McDonnell Reports

It costs Hollywood nothing to make movies that treat women well, and in fact, those films are less risky business. That’s one of the many interesting conclusions MaryAnn Johanson came to after spending 16 months crunching the numbers for her ‘Where Are the Women?’ project. Plus the latest news on Geena Davis, Elizabeth Moss and Suzy Amis Cameron. Read more in THE WEEK IN WOMEN.

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Amy Schumer Talks Body Image, Glamour Mag and People Pleasing — Brandy McDonnell Interviews

amy-schumer-2013-smallIn between uproariously raunchy jokes about feminine hygiene, sexual preferences and shady massage parlors, Amy Schumer delivers pointed messages about body image, extreme dieting and double standards for men and women, hot-button issues she also covers in her TV show and movies. “I think with the women we’re exposed to so constantly in media – movies, magazines, TV – they’re so thin. And they look beautiful, and most of them are healthy and good. I also know that the majority of them are hungry,” Schumer told me in a phone interview. Read more on THE WEEK IN WOMEN…

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Hypersexualized Men, Tessa Thompson Joins Marvel Pantheon, SAG-AFTRA Picks Gabrielle Carteris — Brandy McDonnell Reports

megan-fox-transformers1New research indicates that men are expected to show more skin in movies – but they still get to not take it off more often than their female counterparts. Plus Marvel finds a new superhero in Tessa Thompson and congrats to SAG-AFTRA’s newly elected female president Read the details in THE WEEK IN WOMEN…

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: 2,000 Scripts Confirm Hollywood Sexism, THE BOSS Wins Big Box, Plus Geena, Charlize, Mira and Maria Bello News — Brandy McDonnell comments

mulan-and-mushuPolygraph’s impressive recently released analysis of 2,000 film scripts broken down by gender and age puts date behind the anecdotal evidence of Hollywood’s sexism issues. The study foundm fir exanple, that in 22 of 30 Disney films male characters dominate dialogue, with The Jungle Book having 98 percent male dialogue and Mulan, the femme-centric animation, giving Mushu, the male sidekick, 50 percent more words than Mulan. Melissa McCarthy doesn’t have that problem in The Boss, which topped super heroes at the box office. Plus the latest on Geena Davis, Maria Bello, Mira Nair and Charlize Theron, who will be embracing her inner villain in the next Fast and Furious flick. Read all about it in THE WEEK IN WOMEN….

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN – Image Update: Like Yourself As You Are! — Brandy McDonnell Comments

penelope2The message that women should love their looks even if their features aren’t magazine perfect was central to Penelope (2006), the Christina Ricci starrer about a girl born with a pig snout nose. A decade later, the issue still resonates in the media flap about Carrie Fisher’s appearance in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. When can women stop trying to look perfect? Let’s declare, as Penelope does, “I like myself the way I am!” and stop letting billion-dollar industries decide who and what is beautiful in movies, and in life. Plus news about Reese Witherspoon, Amy Adams, Lily Collins, Gal Gadot and have YA series run their course in Hollywood? Read more in THE WEEK IN WOMEN…

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Disney Does Better, Women’s History Month, Women Influencers and more — Brandy McDonnell Comments

????????Disney Animation’s Zootopia set records at box office, but the film’s success is about so much more than impressive numbers. With the upcoming release of Captain America: Civil War, there are signs that Disney’s Marvel Studios is finally doing a better job of acknowledging the power of women and girls. The National Film Board of Canada will allot half of its production spending to female-directed films. New roles for Halle Berry, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Amanda Seyfried and lists of 20 women making a difference in Hollywood and movies to watch for Women’s History Month. Read more on THE WEEK IN WOMEN

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Oscars Aftermath, GHOSTBUSTERS, and more – Brandy McDonnell reports

ghostbustersThe Oscars and Ghostbusters offer opportunities for real talk about diversity, plus Geena Davis reminds us why women’s equal representation in movies and television is important and Patricia Arquette continues her equality crusade, exec producing a docu that advocates for passage of the ERA. Tribeca Film Festival, unveiling half of it’s 2016 slate, sets a new record for female directors with one third of its programmed titles helmed by women, including Sophia Takal and Ingrid Jungermann. Read more in THE WEEK IN WOMEN.

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Tarnished Oscars and more – Brandy McDonnell reports

oscars gold88th Academy Awards preview: Oscars’ gender imbalance and another good reason Hollywood should embrace diversity. The 2016 Academy Awards will be handed out Sunday night, and the Women’s Media Center has revealed some appalling, if not particularly surprising, statistics leading up to Hollywood’s golden day. Read more on THE WEEK IN WOMEN…

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Producer Tweets Call Out Sexism, Disney Princesses Don’t Talk, Chastain’s Production Co and More — Brandy McDonnell Reports

megan-fox-transformersIf awareness is key to bringing about change, then producer Ross Putman deserves kudos for his new Twitter account @femscriptintros. And with tonight’s “The Wonderful World of Disney: Disneyland 60″ special, it’s a good time to look at new research about the amount of time Disney princesses get to talk in their own films. Read more in THE WEEK IN WOMEN.

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: It’s Still a White Man’s Celluloid World – Brandy McDonnell comments

samantha beeThe dearth of female protagonists doesn’t represent the box-office success of women-led films. Still, “It’s a Man’s (Celluloid) World” found that stats on female characters of color haven’t changed much, showing a slight increase in black female characters since last year, but no boost in Latina characters, and even fewer Asian females on screen. Samantha Bee, The Daily Show correspondent now launching her own late-night show, Full Frontal, offered a so-simple-it-just-might-work solution to Hollywood’s diversity problem: “Hire women and people of color.” Read how the studios stack up and other items of interest on THE WEEK IN WOMEN…

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