WEEK IN WOMEN news roundup: Golden Globes airing tonight, Time’s Up founded to fight sexual harassment, Palm Springs International Film Festival kicks off awards season, three women-led movies top 2017 box office, AWFJ reveals 2017 awards nominees

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The 75th Annual Golden Globes air tonight on NBC. Photo via Facebook

The 75th Annual Golden Globes air tonight on NBC. Photo via Facebook

The cinematic awards season gets full underway tonight with the 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards.

Seth Meyers will host the show billed as “Hollywood’s Party of the Year,” airing live coast-to-coast on NBC from 8 to 11 p.m. Eastern Time, 7 to 10 p.m. Central Time and 5 to 8 p.m. Pacific Time from the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California.

As usual, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s annual soiree will be a star-studded affair, with a cavalcade of celebrity presenters including Angelina Jolie, Ron Howard, Dwayne Johnson, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Common, Reese Witherspoon, Sebastian Stan, Kit Harington, Salma Hayek, Helen Mirren, Halle Berry, Carol Burnett, Kelly Clarkson, Darren Criss, Penélope Cruz, Gal Gadot, Greta Gerwig, Hugh Grant, Neil Patrick Harris, Chris Hemsworth, Christina Hendricks, Isabelle Huppert, Shirley Maclaine, Ricky Martin, Sarah Jessica Parker, Amy Poehler, Edgar Ramírez, Seth Rogen, J.K. Simmons, Sharon Stone, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Alicia Vikander, Kerry Washington,  Emma Watson and many, many more.

“Thelma & Louise” stars Geena Davis (a previously Golden Globe Award winner and four-time award nominee) and Susan Sarandon (nine-time Golden Globe Award nominee) also will reunite on tonight’s Globes as presenters

In light of the #MeToo movement and the sexual misconduct allegations leveled against high-profile Hollywood men like Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Louis C.K. and many more, though, the Golden Globes are set to be more than just a frothy, champagne-fueled, back-patting party this year. As I noted on my BAM’s Blog, Weinstein in particular was an awards season fixture until many women – including several respected actresses – went on record stating that the producer sexual harassed or abused them.

Many actors – especially women but also some men – have said they are planning to wear black on Sunday’s telecast to show solidarity with victims of harassment and abuse.

“This is a moment of solidarity, not a fashion moment,” Longoria told The New York Times.

“For years, we’ve sold these awards shows as women, with our gowns and colors and our beautiful faces and our glamour,” Longoria said. “This time the industry can’t expect us to go up and twirl around. That’s not what this moment is about.”

Another point of interest at this year’s Globes: Although the categories – and typically the winners – don’t align neatly with the Academy Awards, the Golden Globes are of particular interest this year because no one film from 2017 has emerged as a clear front-runner for top cinematic honors.

As previously reported, we do know that acclaimed actress, producer, television star and entrepreneur Oprah Winfrey will be honored with the 2018 Cecil B. de Mille Award on tonight’s Globes.

Chosen by the HFPA Board of Directors, the Cecil B. de Mille Award is given annually to a talented individual who has made an incredible impact on the world of entertainment. Honorees over the decades include Audrey Hepburn, Barbra Streisand, Denzel Washington, George Clooney, Harrison Ford, Jodie Foster, Lucille Ball, Martin Scorsese, Meryl Streep, Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Robin Williams, Sidney Poitier, Sophia Loren, Steven Spielberg, and many more.

The Golden Globe Awards are viewed in more than 236 countries worldwide and are one of the few awards ceremonies to include both motion picture and television achievements.

See the full list of Golden Globes nominees here.

Eva Longoria looks glamorous in an episode of the NBC comedy "Telenovela." She tells The New York Times her fashion choices on the 2018 Golden Globe Awards will be about standing in solidarity with victims of sexual harassment and abuse. NBC photo

Eva Longoria looks glamorous in an episode of the NBC comedy “Telenovela.” She tells The New York Times her fashion choices on the 2018 Golden Globe Awards will be about standing in solidarity with victims of sexual harassment and abuse. NBC photo

Time’s Up founded to battle sexual harassment

In the wake of #MeToo and the tidal wave of outrage over allegations of ongoing sexual misconduct by the likes of Harvey Weinstein, Brett Ratner, James Toback and many more, The New York Times reports that 300 prominent female actors, agents, writers, directors, producers and entertainment executives have formed a vast and ambitious initiative to fight systemic sexual harassment not only in Hollywood a but also in blue-collar workplaces nationwide.

Along with a request that women walking the red carpet at the Golden Globes speak out and raise awareness by wearing black, the initiative includes a legal defense fund, backed by $13 million in donations, to help less privileged women — like janitors, nurses, farm and factory workers, waitresses, hotel housekeepers — protect themselves from sexual misconduct and the fallout from reporting it; legislation to penalize companies that tolerate persistent harassment, and to discourage the use of nondisclosure agreements to silence victims; and a drive to at long last reach gender parity at studios and talent agencies that reportedly has already begun making headway.

Dubbed Time’s Up, the movement was announced on Monday with an impassioned pledge of support to working-class women in an open letter signed by hundreds of women in show business, many of them A-listers.

“The struggle for women to break in, to rise up the ranks and to simply be heard and acknowledged in male-dominated workplaces must end; time’s up on this impenetrable monopoly,” the letter reads.

In November, an open letter was sent on behalf of 700,000 female farmworkers who said they stood with Hollywood women actors in their fight against abuse. Time’s Up members told the NYT that the letter bolstered their resolve to train their efforts not just on Hollywood but beyond.

“It’s very hard for us to speak righteously about the rest of anything if we haven’t cleaned our own house,” said Shonda Rhimes, the executive producer of the television series “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal” and “How to Get Away With Murder,” who has been closely involved with the group.

“If this group of women can’t fight for a model for other women who don’t have as much power and privilege, then who can?” Rhimes continued to the NYT.

Other Time’s Up members include actors Ashley Judd, Eva Longoria, America Ferrera, Natalie Portman, Rashida Jones, Emma Stone, Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon; showrunner Jill Soloway; Universal Pictures Chairwoman Donna Langley; lawyers Nina L. Shaw and Tina Tchen, who served as Michelle Obama’s chief of staff; and Maria Eitel, an expert in corporate responsibility who is co-chairwoman of the Nike Foundation.

“People were moved so viscerally,” Eitel, who helps moderate Time’s Up meetings, which began in October, told the NYT. “They didn’t come together because they wanted to whine, or complain, or tell a story or bemoan. They came together because they intended to act. There was almost a ferociousness to it, especially in the first meetings.”

Time’s Up is run by volunteers and has groups fighting sexual harassment on several different fronts. One group oversaw the creation of a commission, led by Anita Hill and announced in December, that is tasked with creating a blueprint for ending sexual harassment in show business. Another group, 50/50by2020, is pushing entertainment organizations and companies to agree to reach gender parity in their leadership tiers within two years. Yet another group ensuring that minorities and gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people are heard, according to the NYT report.

For more information on the Time’s Up movement, go to www.timesupnow.com.

Jessica Chastain appears in a scene from "Molly's Game." STX Entertainment photo

Jessica Chastain appears in a scene from “Molly’s Game.” STX Entertainment photo

Palm Springs International Film Festival kicks off awards season

Actors Jessica Chastain, Gal Gadot, Gary Oldman, Holly Hunter, Sam Rockwell and others journeyed to the California desert Tuesday night for the opening gala of the 29th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival, a non-televised ceremony that’s widely regarded as Hollywood’s first awards show of the new year.

The Associated Press reports that Chastain in her speech to the crowd gathered for dinner at the city’s convention center predicted that there would be changes to what she called a “flawed system” in Hollywood. She was one of actresses at the ceremony supporting the just-announced anti-harassment coalition Time’s Up.

“Major change is coming. And change is good. Change is needed,” she said. “We must be better. And we will.”

The star of the awards season contender “Molly’s Game” grew emotional in recalling her first trip to the festival five years earlier, telling a story of spying on Oldman while he was eating lunch.

Considered a potential Oscars front-runner, Oldman was honored at the festival for his lead role in “Darkest Hour.” According to the AP, British actor, 59, drew perhaps the loudest applause of the night when he said he and his wife were planning to make Palm Springs their permanent home.

“So it feels a little bit like local boy makes good,” he said.

The AP reports that Gadot appeared to hold back tears as she took the stage alongside her “Wonder Woman” director Patty Jenkins.

“I’m dancing from within,” the Israeli actress told the crowd. Professing her admiration for Jenkins, Gadot teased her director, saying, “You’re going to get tired of me” when filming begins this year on the sequel.

Gadot and “Call Me By Your Name” star Timothee Chalamet were honored as rising stars by the festival.

“Your film has literally made 250 times more money than my movie has. So I’m feeling a little insecure, unqualified to be up here, but that’s OK,” Chalamet said, noting the vast difference in box office clout between “Call Me By Your Name” and “Wonder Woman.”

Daisy Ridley stars as Rey in "Star Wars: The Last Jedi." Lucasfilm photo

Daisy Ridley stars as Rey in “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” Lucasfilm photo

Three women-led movies top 2017 box office

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.

“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” – the eighth episode in the long-running space saga – overtook Disney’s live-action remake of “Beauty and the Beast” on New Year’s Eve to become the top-grossing film of the year in the United States and Canada. “The Last Jedi” took in $533.1 million, according to the Guardian, while “Beauty and the Beast” conjured up $504 million.

“Wonder Woman,” the first starring feature film vehicle for the venerable superhero and the first critical hit for the beleaguered DC Comics’ cinematic universe, came in third place with $412.6 million.

It was the first time since 1958 films with female actors in lead roles topped North America’s box office, according to the Guardian.

But having the year’s top-grossing movie led by a female character has become downright commonplace over the past few years: The “Star Wars” prequel spin-off “Rogue One,” starring Felicity Jones the daughter of an Imperial scientist who the Rebel Alliance and leads a team determined to steal the Death Star plans, was the highest grossing film of 2016, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com.

In 2015, the top-grossing movie was the long-awaited seventh “Star Wars” sage episode, “The Force Awakens,” starring Daisey Ridley as a newcomer who is uncannily skilled in The Force and co-starring Carrie Fisher reprising her role as Gen. (and former Princess) Leia Organa and introducing Gwendoline Christie as Capt. Phasma, a heavy for the new evil empire, The First Order.

“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1,” starring Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen, another hit franchise’s version of a rebel leader, finished 2014 as the highest grossing film. It held on to the title until March 2015, when Clint Eastwood’s Christmas Day 2014 release “American Sniper” finally overtook it, according to the Los Angeles Times.

But the previous installment of “The Hunger Games,” held on to the highest grossing spot for the previous year, 2013.

That’s quite a revealing pattern that hopefully should go a long way toward debunking the persistent, pervasive and downright pesky Hollywood myth that movies about women are somehow a risk.

“Women were the real power brokers at the cinema in 2017,” Paul Dergarabedian of comScore, which compiles the estimated movie earnings, told the Guardian.

“It’s a really interesting phenomenon,” he said. “I don’t know if it’s something in the zeitgeist that’s manifesting itself in these powerful portrayals of female characters in these really big hit movies as well as smaller indie movies.

“It is just a renaissance going on in 2017 and now moving into 2018 where female-led movies and movies with female characters at the centre of the story have moved front and centre in terms of the box office and in terms of critical acclaim.”

As the cinematic awards season amps up, other female-led films also are leading the way, with the like of “The Shape of Water,” “The Post,” “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” “Lady Bird” and “I, Tonya” considered strong contenders to bring home various statuettes.

Star Saoirse Ronan, left, and writer-director Greta Gerwig appear on the set of "Lady Bird," one of the movies made by and centered on women nominated for this year's Alliance of Women Film Journalist awards. A24 photo

Star Saoirse Ronan, left, and writer-director Greta Gerwig appear on the set of “Lady Bird,” one of the movies made by and centered on women nominated for this year’s Alliance of Women Film Journalist awards. A24 photo

AWFJ reveals 2017 awards nominees

As I noted on my BAM’s Blog, the Alliance of Women Film Journalists has revealed its stellar list of nominees for its end-of-year awards for 2017.

This year’s field of nominees is particularly strong, reflecting a number of esteemed cinematic projects helmed by and/or focused on women. Among the AWFJ nominees are femme-focused titles like “The Shape of Water,” “The Post,” “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” “Lady Bird,” “The Breadwinner,” “I, Tonya” and “Faces, Places.”

The 11th annual EDA Awards – which stands for Excellent Dynamic Activism – will be presented in 25 categories divided into three sections: the standard “best of” section, the Female Focus awards and the irreverent EDA Special Mention awards—including Actress Most in Need of a New Agent and the AWFJ Hall of Shame Award.

The EDA Awards reflect women’s perspectives on film, and recognize excellent work in cinema in front of and behind the camera, with a particular focus on work done by and about women.

Nominees in each category are determined by alliance members who submit nominating ballots. The final winners will be unveiled Tuesday. To read the full list of nominees, click here.




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