Women on Film – The Week In Women, January 16, 2009 – MaryAnn Johanson

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Two Emmas and two Kates dominate this week in women. Plus: lesbians!

WOMAN OF THE WEEK: It’s Kate Winslet, surely, who on Sunday won two Golden Globes: one for Best Actress for her performance in Revolution Road, and Best Supporting Actress for her performance in The Reader. That would have been enough, but then she was nominated — twice, again, for the same performances — for BAFTA awards. She can’t repeat her two-fer win, though, because she’s nominated for both films in the same ‘Best Actress’ category. Still, it’s an extraordinary honor to be nominated like this.

IN TV NEWS: Showtime’s lesbian hit The L Word is getting its own spinoff, a prison drama starring Famke Janssen, Melissa Leo, and Laurie Metcalf. It’s great to see the birthing of another series that must, perforce, be dominated by female characters–especially if it avoids the titillation factor that lesbianism invariably brings. I confess I haven’t seen The L Word so can’t say if that show actually resorts to titillation — but knowing Showtime’s dedication to quality drama, I’d be surprised if it did. Still, is it really so hard, Hollywood, to imagine that a series that features a primarily female cast could and would appeal to audiences even if the characters couldn’t be defined, categorized or stereotyped by their sexuality (or by their desperate housewifery)?

TOO-THIN WATCH: As WENN News reports (via IMDb):

British actress Kate Beckinsale was so weak with hunger on the set of blockbuster Pearl Harbor she battled dizziness on set.

Then a new mum, the star felt great about her shape after losing her baby weight prior to the costume fitting for the 2001 film, but was told she was too fat for the movie.

It’s hard to see how Beckinsale could ever have been considered “too fat.” But she got a different perspective on meeting the demands that she lose weight when she discovered she wasn’t the only star on set struggling to get thin.

“Thank God for Ben Affleck! He was so candid about the producers doing the exact same thing to him. Once I realized it was happening to the boys, too… I was able to put it in perspective.”

Perspective? So, because men in Hollywood are now being forced to abuse their bodies, too, it’s all cool? No, it isn’t.

TOO-OLD WATCH: Scarlett Johansson is already worried about what she’ll do when she gets “too old” for Hollywood. And maybe the tender age of 24 is not too young for her worries–because things will start getting tougher for her once she hits the dreaded 30. Still….

Screen siren Scarlett Johansson is eyeing a career switch as soon as she begins to wrinkle – she’s preparing to become a director before movie bosses pass her up for another ingenue.

“That ageism makes the actress fearful for her future, making her consider another path within the industry. There is some weird ageist quality in Hollywood, perhaps that’s why I lean more toward directing and development. That’s probably the direction I’ll take; I can’t keep up this face forever, you know.”

Sweetie, what makes you think the sexist bosses of Hollywood are gonna let you direct movies? You do realize, don’t you, that you’re most likely gonna have to go the indie route if you want to work at all — as an actor or a director — once they tire of you?


MOVIES OPENING TODAY: Six movies open wide today, and it may be, alas, something of a banner week to note that as many as two of them feature some significant involvement by women. Emma Thompson’s performance in Last Chance Harvey is absolutely lovely, and elevates a pretty standard romantic comedy to something that becomes, in a way that romantic comedies seldom do, a portrait of modern womanhood that feels genuine. And in Hotel for Dogs — based on a young adult novel by Lois Duncan — Emma Roberts portrays a teenage girl who’s smart, strong, clever, and the motivating actor of her own life. And all of that in a story that is not about pursuing romance. Which sets a wonderful example for the teen and preteen audiences to which this film is primarily marketed. Not that there’s anything wrong with romance, but if you had to judge from most movies, you’d think chasing men or being chased by them is the only thing we do.

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MaryAnn Johanson

MaryAnn Johanson is a freelance writer on film, TV, DVD, and pop culture from New York City and now based in London. She is the webmaster and sole critic at FlickFilosopher.com, which debuted in 1997 and is now one of the most popular, most respected, and longest-running movie-related sites on the Internet. Her film reviews also appear in a variety of alternative-weekly newspapers across the U.S. Johanson is one of only a few film critics who is a member of The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (the Webby organization), an invitation-only, 500-member body of leading Web experts, business figures, luminaries, visionaries and creative celebrities. She is also a member of the Online Film Critics Society. She has appeared as a cultural commentator on BBC Radio, LBC-London, and on local radio programs across North America, and she served as a judge at the first Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Film Festival at the 2003 I-Con, the largest SF convention on the East Coast. She is the author of The Totally Geeky Guide to The Princess Bride, and is an award-winning screenwriter. Read Johanson's recent articles below. For her AWFJ.org archive, type "MaryAnn Johanson" in the Search Box (upper right corner of screen).