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

 

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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TWIW: Academy’s Diversity Booster, plus Viola Davis, Saoirse Ronan, Alicia Vikander and more — Brandy McDonnell comments

The Academy’s Cheryl Boone Isaac??????????????? has announced “a sweeping series of substantive changes” to boost diversity, including a commitment to doubling the number of women and diverse members of the Academy by 2020, but can the Oscars truly change unless Hollywood changes, too? Viola Davis addresses diversity issues in television and film. Saoirse Ronan and Alicia Vikander take on new roles and a tribute to Oscar-winning screenwriter Frances Marion. Read more in THE WEEK IN WOMEN

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Women at the Oscars, Statswise – Brandy McDonnell comments

Following a year when gender equality – or rather the lack thereof – was one of the biggest issues in Hollywood, the Academy Award nominations reflected a bit of improvement in the number of female nominees for the 2016 Oscars. But only a bit. Read more on THE WEEK IN WOMEN

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Femme-centric STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS’ box-office tops Golden Globes earner THE REVENANT – Brandy McDonnell reports

daisy-ridley-the-force-awakensStar Wars: The Force Awakens took top North American box office for its fourth weekend, grossing $41.6 million from 4,134 theaters for a total $812 million. It’s the first movie to cross $800 million in the U.S., and it’s got a female leading character who is central to the plot. This is the third year in a row that the top-grossing movie of the year has featured a female main character. It even bested this year’s Golden Globes big winner, the gritty mostly-male survival tale, The Revenant, and other Golden Globe grabbers. Read more in THE WEEK IN WOMEN

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AWFJ Members Score Achievements in 2015, and moves to level the playing field – Brandy McDonnell comments

Alliance of Women Film Journalists members celebrateD big achievements in 2015 – if only there were more women film critics to celebrate. The ongoing discussion about the need to level the playing ground for women working in Hollywood is expanding to include women filmmakers working in the documentary arena, and women who are working in film criticism. Looking ahead to 2016, the struggle continues for equality for women and for people of color in the film industry. The debate is actually heating up. Read more in THE WEEK IN WOMEN

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Are 2015′s Gender Gains Sustainable? Plus Blanchett, Streisand and Hollywood’s Most Powerful Women — Brandy McDonnell Reports

DAISY RIDLEY STAR WARSAs 2015 comes to a close, the question becomes are women’s box office successes just milestones in a particularly good feminist year? Or are they markers on the road to true change? The truth is, movies about and directed by women were not the rarity they’ve become since the early days of Hollywood. The entertainment industry has had its moments, particularly in the 1980s, when it vowed to open opportunities for women and seemed to do so for a while before slipping back into its comfort zone of unconscious bias and systemic sexism. What’s on the horizon? Plus Cate Blanchett signs on for Thor, Barbra Streisand is honored, Women in Film names grant recipients and this year’s list of the most powerful women in Hollywood. Read about it all in THE WEEK IN WOMEN.

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: ‘Systematic Change Project’ for Gender Parity, HUNGER GAMES Sustain, Barbra is Back and more – Brandy McDonnell reports

‘It’s time for action’: With the new ‘Systemic Change Project,’ Women in Film Los Angeles and the Sundance Institute are initiating a joint effort to push for equal opportunity and gender parity in film and TV. Hunger Games rules box office for third week running. Barbra Streisand is set to direct a new project. Three femme-centric films win accolates. And more news in this week’s THE WEEK IN WOMEN.

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Farewell Kudos to Katniss, NYT Inequality Callout, plus Editors, Emma and EDA – Brandy McDonnell reports

hunger games mock 2The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 boasts a bittersweet ending, and who knows when Hollywood will give us another epic female hero like Katniss Everdeen. Female film editors add their strong voices to the chorus of film industry women who are shouting out about inequality and gender bias in Hollywood. Emma Stone takes court and EDA Awards presented at SLIFF. Read more in THE WEEK IN WOMEN.

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: RIP Ms. Betsy Drake, ‘Ishtar Effect’ Update, Hardwicke to EEOC & Female Figures MIA – Brandy McDonnell reports

RIP and RESPECT for Betsy Drake. The former actress, screenwriter and co-founder of the Actors Studio really deserves an obituary that focuses on her achievements rather than on her relationship with her ex-husband Cary Grant. We’re calling out the media bias! Plus: Will the ‘Ishtar effect’ of poor box office on their new films, all released on November 13, derail the directorial careers of Patricia Riggen (The 33), Angelina Jolie Pitt (By the Sea), and Jessie Nelson (Love the Coopers)? What does Catherine Hardwicke have to say to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission? And, where are the women in Marvel’s new action figure sets? Read THE WEEK IN WOMEN

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Hollywood’s ‘pink razor remakes’ shave women directors, SUPERGIRL in OK, RIP Melissa Mathieson and more – Brandy McDonnell reports

Hollywood green lights remakes for their relative ease, low risk and built-in audiences, but we don’t need more of them — and we especially don’t need them as a quick fix for Hollywood’s ongoing gender issues. Instead of forcing audiences to settle for remakes, how about the studios invest money on projects initiated by the more than 100 women directors who’ve already proven their skills with box office successes. When are women creatives going to get equal opportunity to share their original stories instead of just doing “the female-version” of “insert big franchise title”? 20th Century Fox, Sony, Paramount, and the Weinstein Company have all failed to put out even a single film this year that was directed by a woman! Plus RIP screenwriter Melissa Mathieson, whose brilliant and beloved E.T will live forever, Oklahoma super girls welcome Supergirl Melissa Benoist, Chloe Sevigny cast as Lizzie Borden, and Essence is launching its Third Annual Black Women In Hollywood Short Film Contest, with submissions due by December 14. Read more in this week’s THE WEEK IN WOMEN

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: TV’s SUPERGIRL Soars, but Regendered Movie Remakes Fall Flat – Brandy McDonnell reports

supergirlSupergirl soars as the season’s top rated new series, featuring Melissa Benoist as Superman’s cousin Kara Zor-El, and a primarily female cast of major characters. Its debut episode’s delightfully fun and decidedly feminist attitude dealt with double standards women face — though she has all of Superman’s powers, Kara’s discouraged from trying to save the world. Between Supergirl‘s super-success on CBS and Netflix’s hotly anticipated Nov 20 debut of Marvel’s superheroine series Jessica Jones, it’s worth asking this question a hundred times: Why are we waiting so long for a superheroine movie? And why, meanwhile, are we expected to settle for regendered movie remakes that fall flat? Plus the latest on Ava Duvernay, Reese Witherspoon and women in animation. Read this week’s THE WEEK IN WOMEN.

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Respect for Maureen O’Hara, Sandra Bullock, Sarah Gavron, Daniel Craig and more – Brandy McDonnell reports

maureen-ohara-in-the-quiet-manWhile we mourn the passing of fiery actress Maureen O’Hara, we look to the need for more women in front of the camera, behind the camera and in the boardroom. Sandra Bullock seconds the spanking of Hollywood for sexism and ageism. Suffragette director Sarah Gavron talks about role models. Kate Winslett to star in biopic of American fashion model, photographer and war correspondent Elizabeth “Lee” Miller. The late Sugar Hill Records co-founder Sylvia Robinson, an influential rap pioneer and producer known as the “Mother of Hip-Hop,” will be the subject of a biopic. And Daniel Craig bonds with Monica Bellucci, his equal in age. Read more in THE WEEK IN WOMEN.

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN on the Equality Front: JLaw’s Stand, EEOC Hearings, Gender Switching & Censored Women Film Fest – Brandy McDonnell reports

jennifer-lawrence-in-american-hustleJennifer Lawrence says she’s no longer willing to be ‘adorable’ in demanding equal pay, and receives wide support from colleagues and fans. Filmmaker Maria Giese is first to testify at EEOC hearings. Hollywood’s equality agenda includes rewriting popular plots with male lead characters for women. New to the Star Wars franchise, Daisy Ridley’s character is featured front and center. Plus women win big at BFI London Film Fest, Meryl Streep to head Berlin Film Fest jury and the first-ever Censored Women’s Film Fest debuts in November in Washington DC at George Washington University. For details on all, read this week’s THE WEEK IN WOMEN.

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: MALALA Inspires, More Opposition to Hollywood Bias, Femme Films @ Box Office and more – Brandy McDonnell comments

malala posterWhile the new documentary He Named Me Malala inspires at the movies, the U.S. government is finally investigating bias complaints about Hollywood’s behind the scenes and on screen sexist bias, and high box office grosses for femme-centric films prove there’s a viable market and substantial audience base for films with lead female characters dealing with women’s issues and life’s situations from a female perspective. Plus goodbye and RIP to our beloved Chantal Ackerman, hello and congrats to MoMA’s La Frances Hui and Meryl Streep pans Rotten Tomatoes’ disparity re women film critics. Read more in THE WEEK IN WOMEN

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Hollywood Ageism Denies Actresses Their ‘Prime,’ plus Phosphate Award for Female Characters, and Davis Honored with Ali Award – Brandy McDonnell comments

At age 38, actresses Liv Tyler and Maggie Gyllenhaal are being told by Hollywood that they’re too old to be case opposite leading men who are in their 50s and 60s. Read what they and Dame Helen Mirren have to say about that. Plus, the new Phosphate Pictures Award pitches a $25,000 prize to scripts with strong female characters and the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards honor Geena Davis for feminist activism. Read this week’s The Week In Women>>

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Primetime Emmys Aren’t So Shiny for Women, plus Hollywood Agism and Blunt on Women in Action – Brandy McDonnell comments

emmy statuette croppedLook beyond the glitzy gowns and golden statuettes at the Primetime Emmy Awards, and the numbers for women aren’t so shiny. A new study, released by the Women’s Media Center in time for the 67th Primetime Emmys (Sept. 20), shows that the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences has a tarnished record when it comes to gender parity in the creative categories of writing (6), directing (8), editing (10), and producing (20) — categories that cover jobs that have the most influence on what is depicted on the small screen. In the last decade, the nominations have skewed heavily towards male creatives. Out of all nominees in the 44 writing, directing, editing, and producing categories, 2,074 of them were women, representing only 22 percent of the total. There were 7,485 men nominated, 78 percent of the total.nominees. Read more>> in this week’s The Week In Women.

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Switching genders in OUR BRAND IS CRISIS, ROADHOUSE and more – Brandy McDonnell comments

When filmmakers start casting women in roles originally written for men, it gives real hope that Hollywood might just be changing its sexist ways. Hopefully, the idea of taking roles written for men and looking for opportunities to cast women instead will catch on with both male and female power-players in Hollywood – and even extend to switching out male directors and screenwriters with females. Then, we’ll start to see some progress. But I believe it has to become a conscious, deliberate choice until we narrow the gender gap.Read on…

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: FURY ROAD on DVD Brings Furiosa Home, plus Kudos for Blanchett, Hathaway’s Sci-Fi and McCarthy Hypes GHOSTBUSTERS – Brandy McDonnell comments

MadMaxFuryRoadInvite Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) into your home when Mad Max: Fury Road releases on Blu-ray and DVD, with extras. Cate Blanchett to receive BFI’s Fellowship at London Film Festival in October. Anne Hathaway produces and stars in The Shower, a Scifi comedy with a kick ass female lead. Melissa McCarthy is stumping for Paul Feig’s not-so-hotly-anticipated all-female Ghostbusters reboot. Read this week’s The Week in Women>>

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