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. Brandy writes The Week In Women blog for AWFJ.org.

 

Articles by Brandy McDonnell

 

THE WEEK IN WOMEN: A Guide to Seeing This Year’s Oscar-Nominated Films — Brandy McDonnell reports

oscars goldThe 90th Oscars will be handed out Sunday at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood, and will be broadcast live on ABC at 8 p.m. Eastern / 7 p.m. Central / 5 p.m. Pacific Time. There’s still time to catch up on seeing the nominees in theaters and on smaller screens before the big event. See our guide on THE WEEK IN WOMEN.

EDITOR’S NOTE: You may also be interested in reading about AWFJ’s 2018 Oscar Predictions.

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Fewer Female Protagonists in 2017 — Brandy McDonnell reports

Dismal stats reported in this year’s edition of the annual It’s a Man’s (Celluloid) World report, released on February 22 by San Diego State University’s Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film, show that the number of female protagonists in Hollywood’s top grossing 100 films dropped during 2017, despite the blockbuster success of Wonder Woman and other femme-led films. Just how bad is it? Continue reading on THE WEEK IN WOMEN.

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Record-Breaking BLACK PANTHER Proves Inclusion Sells in Cinema — Brandy McDonnell reports

The combined success of the record-breaking, critical acclaim-nabbing and audience-thrilling success of Marvel Studios’ Black Panther, introducing a black superhero and boasting a largely black cast, and the recent record-breaking, critical acclaim-nabbing and audience-thrilling successWonder Woman, whixh gave female filmgoers a superhero in their own image, should prove to Hollywood that inclusion sells in cinema, but will it bring real change in the making of movies? Continue reading on THE WEEK IN WOMEN.

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: SXSW Salutes Women, Harvard Honors Kunis, DGA Awards and Streep Joins ‘LIES’ Cast — Brandy McDonnell reports

Texas’ South By Southwest Festival (March 9-18) showcases several promising projects by women directors including three femme-helmed features, one documentary and a documentary series from Netflix. The Directors Guild of America presented top TV show awards to three shows focusing on women’s stories — The Handmaid’s Tale, Veep and Big Little Lies — and honored directors Reed Morano, Niki Caro and Beth McCarthy-Miller for their work on television series and miniseries. Additionally, DGA President Thomas Schlamme awards ceremony opening speech emphasized the guild’s commitment to opposing sexual harassment. Meryl Streep will join the cast of Big Little Lies in season two. And, Harvard’s The Hasty Pudding Theatricals, the oldest theatrical organization in the US, honored Mila Kunis with it’s Woman of the Year award, while also announcing that year’s production will embrace gender-neutral casting. Read all the details in THE WEEK IN WOMEN.

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THE WEEK IN WOMAN: 90th Oscar Noms Mark Milestones for Women and Diversity — Brandy McDonnell reports

In the wake of #OscarsSoWhite, #MeToo and a cavalcade of sexual misconduct scandals brought to light after explosive investigative reports about Harvey Weinstein, the 2018 Oscar nominations marked several milestones for women, African-Americans and transgender people making movies. Continue reading on THE WEEK IN WOMAN.

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Blanchett Chairs Cannes Jury, Women Helmers Underrepresented, Wahlberg Donates to ‘Time’s Up’ — Brandy McDonnell reports

Last year, out of the 109 people who directed the top 100 movies, just eight were women, according to the latest stats from Southern California’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative. That’s 4.3 percent! Following the pay disparity controversy between earnings for Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Williams, Wahlberg is donating all of his take from the ‘All the Money in the World’ reshoot to the Time’s Up equality initiative. And, brava! Cate Blanchett is set to head this year’s Cannes jury. Read details on THE WEEK IN WOMEN…

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Oprah Commands Golden Globes, THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI get top billing, while THE SHAPE OF WATER dominates Critics Choice and AWFJ EDA Awards — Brandy McDonnell reports

Oprah Winfrey drew repeated ovations from the Hollywood honchos assembled for the Golden Globes, as issued a warning — not once, but three times — to powerful men who abuse women: “Their time is up!” And this year’s big Golden Globe winner is Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. But voting members of the Broadcast Film Critics Association/Broadcast Television Journalists Association and the Alliance of Women Film Journalists picked The Shape of Water and their big winner. Continue reading on THE WEEK IN WOMEN…

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Women-Led Films Top 2017 Box Office, Golden Globes and Time’s Up Fight Harassment, Palm Springs Film Fest Awards, and AWFJ’s EDAs — Brandy McDonnell reports

Not only is the highest grossing movie of the year fronted by a female character – again – the top three films of 2017 are women-led stories. Celebrities attending the Golden Globe Awards ceremony will take a stand against sexual harassment by walking the red in black attire, showing solidarity with women in show business and other professions who are victims of on the job abuse. A new and well-funded organization called Time’s Up, founded by Hollywood A-Listers, is fighting sexual harassment in all professional environments through nation-wide initiatives. Palm Springs International Film Festival awards ceremony, considered to be the new year’s first awards presentation, attracts A-List Oscars contenders. And, AWFJ announces its 11th annual EDA Awards nominees, revealing a particularly strong roster of contenders. Continue reading on THE WEEK IN WOMEN.

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Women Warriors Fuel LAST JEDI, Jolie fuels BREADWINNER and WANDA lists at National Film Registry — Brandy McDonnell reports

Women warriors continue to feel the Force in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Producer Angelina Jolie promotes director Nora Twomey’s animated film, The Breadwinner, bringing to life the struggle of an Afghan girl to support her family. Wanda and Lives of Performers are added to National Film Registry. Read details on THE WEEK IN WOMEN.

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Women Presenters At SAG Awards, Golden Globes Snub Women Directors but Award Oprah — Brandy McDonnell reports

Oprah Winfrey will receive the 2018 Cecil B. de Mille Award at the 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards on Sunday, Jan. 7, but the announcement of that big honor for Oprah does little the ease the sting of HFPA’s huge snub: No female filmmakers were included on this year’s list of Golden Globe best director nominees. However, when the 24th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards are simulcast live on TNT and TBS on January 21, the presentation, hosted by Kristen Bell, will feature only women presenters in 13 of the categories. Read details on THE WEEK IN WOMEN.

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Big Deals for DuVernay, Caro, Boden and Arnold, and Fallout for Weinstein — Brandy McDonnell reports

British filmmaker Andrea Arnold signs to direct Big Little Lies. Disney signs Ava DyVernay, Niki Caro and Anna Boden (partnering with Ryan Fleck) to #100-million deals. ‘and the Academy establishes a code of conduct in response to the Harvey Weinstein debacle. Read details on THE WEEK IN WOMEN.

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Gerwig’s Top Rating, Streep’s Gender Lament and MULAN Live — Brandy McDonnell reports

Greta Gerwig’s ‘Lady Bird’ becomes best-reviewed film on Rotten Tomatoes. Disney chooses Liu Yifei to be its live-action ‘Mulan,’ to be directed by Niki Caro. Making the rounds for’The Post,’ Meryl Streep laments the lack of gender parity. Read details on THE WEEK IN WOMEN

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Iran’s Female-Directed Oscar Pick, Plus Portman, Bigelow, Winslet and more — Brandy McDonnell Reports

Natalie Portman wins Israel’s Genesis Prize, Iran makes first Academy Award submission directed by a woman, Sundance Selects acquires Rachel Dretzin’s documentary ‘Far from the Tree,’ and Kathryn Bigelow, Kate Winslet and more are honored by SAG-AFTRA Foundation. Read more on THE WEEK IN WOMEN…

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Varda and Tomlin Honored, Nowlin Plays PTSD Woman Vet, Sexual Harassment Help Line Set

Legendary French filmmaker Agnes Varda, now age 89, receives an honorary Oscar in Hollywood, while The Society of Voice Arts & Sciences has bestowed upon Lily Tomlin the Voice Arts Icon Award, presented at New York’s Lincoln Center. Actress Kate Nowlin weighs in on what it’s like to play a war veteran suffering from PTSD in Blood Stripe, which she also co-scripted. The tsunami of stories out sexual harassment continues to sweep through the entertainment industry and Women in Film Los Angeles is launching a sexual harassment hot line to help those who have suffered unwanted sexual attention for decades to overcome the trauma. Read details on THE WEEK IN WOMEN.

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Jolie and Loung Ung Honored, WONDER WOMAN Top Grosser, The Guardian’s Women’s Cinema Canon

Filmmaker, actor and activist Angelina Jolie and author-activist Loung Ung will receive the Hollywood Foreign Language Film Award at the 21st Annual Hollywood Film Awards for their critically-acclaimed film “First They Killed My Father,” which is also Cambodia’s Oscar submission for Best Foreign Language Film. ‘Wonder Woman’ sill soars at the box office to become the top-grossing superhero origin film. Writer-directors Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman’s “Loving Vincent” sets new standards in animation art. The Guardian proposes a new cinematic canon chosen by women. Note that the members of the Alliance of Women Film Journalist created a Top 100 Films list a decade ago in response to AFI’s heavily male dominated Top 100 Films List. And the beat goes on. Read details on THE WEEK IN WOMEN...

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Femme-Helmed Horror, Kids and Horror, and A Scary Project for Tracy Oliver

Special for Halloween, we’ll tell you where to get the creeps with horror movies directed by women, you can weigh in on the age at which young kids should be introduced to the chills and gore of the horror genre, and get the scoop on Girls Trip co-writer Tracy Oliver’s new project — she’s inked to adapt and direct the young adult best seller scarer, “Survive the Night.” Read details on THE WEEK IN WOMEN.

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Judd and Mirren Honored, Chenoweth Cast and Weinstein Ousted! — Brandy McDonnell reports

In an unprecedented move, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has terminated Harvey Weinstein’s membership, following the storm stirred by revelations of his sexual harassment of actresses and other women in his employ. Ashley Judd, who has spoken out about Weinstein’s transgressions, is to receive The Women’s Media Center’s Speaking Truth to Power Award on Oct. 26 at Capitale in New York City. Helen Mirren has been named the recipient of The Film Society of Lincoln Center’s 45th annual Chaplin Award, to be presented at a gala on April 30, 2018. Kristin Chenoweth has signed on to star in and produce the ABC pilot “The Real Fairy Godmother,” playing a self-absorbed “real housewife” who learns that she’s descended from a secret order of Fairy Godmothers and is destined to use her magical abilities to help those in need. Read more on THE WEEK IN WOMEN…

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Taymor Hired, Weinstein Fired and Cameron is Still at It — Brandy McDonnell reports

Julie Taymor will helm a coming-of-age biopic about feminist journalist and activist Gloria Steinem, based on Steinem’s bestselling memoir My Life on the Road, adapted for the screen by Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-nominated playwright Sarah Ruhl. Harvey Weinstein was terminated from The Weinstein Company Sunday following last week’s New York Times expose detailing decades of sexual abuse allegations made against the Oscar-winning producer by employees and actresses including Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan, among others. James Cameron is still trying to terminate feminist positivity about Wonder Woman, asserting that bustier-clad Gal Gadot is too beautiful to be groundbreaking. Read details on THE WEEK IN WOMEN…

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Focus on Feminism and Diversity in TE ATA — Brandy McDonnell reports

te ata 1 croppedTe Ata brings a trailblazing Native American storyteller’s story to the screen. Q’orianka Kilcher plays the Chickasaw actress who introduced her people’s legends to audiences worldwide. Born in Indian Territory, Mary Frances Thompson grew up steeped Chickasaw lore. Drama teachers at Oklahoma College for Women encouraged her to weave American Indian stories into her performances. Taking the name “Te Ata,” (“bearer of the morning”), she left Broadway theater to share Native American stories – a path leading to her White House performance at President Franklin Roosevelt’s first state dinner in 1933. Te Ata continued storytelling even as the federal Code of Indian Offenses prohibited American Indians from practicing their culture. The film was produced by the Chickasaw Nation, who wanted to tell the story their way. Read about the production and what screenwriter Jennie Barbour has to say about it on THE WEEK IN WOMEN…

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Dench is Awarded, Kruger is Lamarr-ed, Hamilton is TERMINATOR-ing — Brandy McDonnell reports

Dame Judi Dench, turning 83 on December 9, will receive the Santa Barbara Film Festival’s Kirk Douglas Award on November 30. Douglas turns 101 on — coincidentally — December 9. Congrats to both! Diane Kruger is slated to produce and star in a miniseries about Hedy Lamarr, the movie star with a brilliant mind and many scientific inventions to her credit. And, Linda Hamilton is returning after a 25-year hiatus to the ‘Terminator’ franchise, as an older but equally kickass Sarah Connor. Read details on THE WEEK IN WOMEN.

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN News: McGowan @ Tallgrass FF, Gerwig @ Austin FF, Payday for Jenkins, Curtis and HALLOWEEN — Brandy McDonnell reports

Rose McGowan is being honored by the Tallgrass International Film Festival in Wichita, Greta Gerwig’s well-reviewed ‘Lady Bird’ has been selected to open the Austin Film Festival, Patty Jenkins has sealed a deal for ‘Wonder Woman 2′ that makes her the highest paid female director in history, and , and Jamie Lee Curtis returns to the ‘Halloween’ franchise. Read all the details on THE WEEK IN WOMEN.

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Diana Huey’s ‘LITTLE MERMAID’ reminds us why diverse casting matters — Brandy McDonnell reports

Even Diana Huey doubted that she would be cast as the lead in the national touring production of the latest stage adaptation of Disney’s “The Little Mermaid.”
It wasn’t because she couldn’t sing the iconic songs while suspended from a harness or play a rebellious teenage mermaid princess who becomes a mute human in the second act. It was simply because she was born in Japan. Continue reading on THE WEEK IN WOMEN.

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN News: GIRLS TRIP, Patty Jenkins, Geena Davis and Women Texas Film Fest

The hit comedy “Girls Trip” has crossed the $100 million mark at the box office and broken a couple of records in the process. Patty Jenkins, whose “Wonder Woman” is another of this summer’s box office hits, says she hopes the superhero movie’s success will lead to more job openings for women in and beyond the film industry. Geena Davis returns to big screens in the scifi indie,“Marjorie Prime,” about a woman who helps her mother fight dementia by getting her a hologram of her deceased husband to activate her memory. The Dallas-based Women Texas Film Festival announced its award winners, with Brooke and Doug Purdy’s “Quality Problems” taking home the award for Best Feature Film. Read more on THE WEEK IN WOMEN.

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: James Cameron vs. Wonder Woman! — Brandy McDonnell comments

The Terminator 2: Judgment Day director calls Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman movie “a step back,” and confirms Hollywood’s continuing desire to lock women in the “strong” box. In a recent interview centered on the 3-D re-release of his 1991 blockbuster Terminator 2: Judgment Day, James Cameron set off a firestorm on Twitter when he reduced Wonder Woman and her depiction in Patty Jenkins’ record-setting film to “an objectified icon” that he considers “a step backwards” from his female character of Sarah Connor. Read more on THE WEEK IN WOMEN.

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Latest on Patty Jenkins, Saoirse Ronan, Reese Witherspoon and Annie Clark aka St. Vincent — Brandy McDonnell reports

Annie Clark, aka St. Vincent, is set to direct a new version of Oscar Wilde’s Picture of Dorian Gray, starring a woman in the title role. Saoirse Ronan takes on the title role in Mary, Queen of Scots, opposite Margot Robbie as Elizabeth. Reese Witherspoon talks rom com evolution as represented by her latest, Home Again, the directorial debut Hallie Meyers-Shyer, daughter of acclaimed director Nancy Meyers. And, Patty Jenkins is upping the income ante on Wonder Woman II, following the first film’s mega box office success. Read details on THE WEEK IN WOMEN.

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