Musings @musicandmeaning.com

Tell me, how do I feel? Tell me now, how do I feel?
"He had a theory that musicians are incredibly complex, and know far less than other artists what they want and what they are; that they puzzle themselves as well as their friends; that their psychology is a modern development, and has not yet been understood." – E. M. Forster

Monday, 20 January 2003

The more things stay the same…

Earlier tonight (technically last night) I had the TV turned on during the 3-hour-tape-delayed Golden Globe Awards (given by the Hollywood Foreign Press, which has a membership of 90 people…90 people who can give a seemingly huge-biz-deal, internationally televised awards party…isn’t that amazing? I’ve always thought so). I was working on something on the computer; the TV is situated behind me, so I ended up just listening in every so often.

When Nicole Kidman accepted her Best Actress in a Drama award for playing Virginia Woolf in The Hours, she made a comment about how the past year had so many good performances and roles for women. And she pleaded with writers to continue writing rich and complex roles for women, because (may not be verbatim) “we’re very interesting.”

It was a nice speech, and it got much well-deserved applause…but I couldn’t and still can’t help thinking that a decade ago, when I was so very into the film industry and kept up with all of the news I could, actresses were trying to get the same message across. In no way do I intend to critique the originality of Kidman’s speech — not at all. I’m saying: What does it mean when, after ten years, female actors still have to plead for diverse and interesting characters to play?

Of course, I realize that it’s not as if things have remained static from 1993 to 2003. I acknowledge that improvements have been made. Even if Michael Cunningham had written The Hours back ten or fifteen years ago, I don’t know if the film would have been made…perhaps. But if it had, it likely wouldn’t have included such a remarkable “A” list cast, nor would it have been backed by a huge studio like Paramount, and without that cast and financial backing, it never would have had a chance in heck at winning an award like the Golden Globe. So a major dramatic movie about three women (who are not in their twenties, nor action heroes, nor evil spies, nor singing and dancing seductresses) like this one…it’s a positive sign, definitely (and I haven’t even seen the film yet). Even with the dollar-driven drivel that gets green-lighted these days, there’s still hope. Not just for actresses but for women as directors and writers and in the many other talents.

But I hope to witness the day when women will not have to ask men to write especially for them (and more women will be welcomed in the biz as writers), and when women will not have to search far and wide for (to borrow Kidman’s phrase) “complicated, rich characters to play.” Let’s try and see if we can make it happen. Because, let’s face it, I don’t want to have to make this case again ten years from now…and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

Posted at 3:03 am | Filed under Favorite posts, Film, News commentary

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