Women On Film – The Week In Women, February 20, 2009 – MaryAnn Johanson

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Getting nude for Oscar glory… and starving yourself in order to look good on camera. It’s all in a day’s work for Hollywood gals.

FULL-FRONTAL OSCARS: Does a gal need to strip to win an Oscar? That’s the question The Envelope’s Rachel Abramowitz asks ed this week, noting that Marisa Tomei’s baring all in The Wrestler may be the thing that puts her over the Oscar-winning top, and the full frontal may be what cinches a golden statuette for Kate Winslet, who also bears all emotionally in The Reader. Abramowitz exposes the bizarre contradictions at work when it comes to actresses going the full monty for their art: it’s “brave” but it can also be “rebranding” for older actresses, affording them a chance to remind audiences and the industry that they’re still hot enough to be employable. Hey, how come the guys never have to rebrand themselves by showing us their…all?

HONORING THOSE WHO HONOR AND SUPPORTING WOMEN FILMMAKERS: On the international scene, the Berlin Film Festival has just honored Peruvian director Claudia Llosa with its top prize, the Golden Bear, her film La teta asustada (The Milk of Sorrow). Here at home, New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts’ Fusion Film Festival (February 26-28) brings together women film professionals with aspiring filmmakers and screenwriters in the hopes of launching some future award-winners. (Yours truly will appear on the “Smart Talk: Women and Film in the Blogosphere” panel.)

STARVATION DIETS ARE FABULOUS!: As if we need additional evidence that the only way female celebs can maintain bodies deemed thin enough for Hollywood is by mimicking those with eating disorders, here ((via IMDB’s WENN News) is what Confessions of a Shopaholic star Isla Fisher went through while shooting that flick:

The movie’s producers forced the star to take up a gruelling exercise regime in a bid to stay svelte throughout filming.

Fisher’s lifestyle coach also put restrictions on her food intake – but the star rebelled by gorging on sweet treats and fast food behind his back.

And Fisher admits her diet-busting antics drove her trainer to tears.

She says, “He wanted to come round (to my house) every single day and I couldn’t have that.

“So I got it down to three times a week, but he was all about lifestyle. There was a list of things I couldn’t eat – it was so long, there was nothing left that I could eat! It was awful.

“I had to lead this double life where I was pretending I was being really good, when secretly I had cakes stuffed in my anorak pockets and I had to shove them into my mouth when he was turned the other way. One time, I’d already eaten french fries and a hamburger and had a really awful day. I confessed that I’d eaten one bread roll – I lied about everything else – and he almost cried.

No tears here, Isla, for your trainer. But we do feel YOUR pain!

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Movies Opening Today: Who says there are no roles for older women in film? There are… they’re just being played by 40-year-old men in old-lady suits. Not that Tyler Perry’s alter ego, Madea — who returns today in *Madea Goes to Jail* — is any role that a self-respecting actress would want to take on, unless she enjoys crude caricatures. Perhaps that’s why Perry has been forced to perform the role so many times. No one else wants it!

It’s young women who are reduced to stereotypes — as dumb but eager blow-up dolls — in *Fired Up!*, in which the “hero” high-school casanovas see their female classmates as the “bottomless breadsticks at Olive Garden” and deride the girls who “respect themselves too much” because they only bring “drama” to a hookup. Unbelievable.

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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).