Women headline holiday movies but still face 'celluloid ceiling'

Women play starring roles in a flurry of films that will carry through the holiday season. But when it comes...

Posted: Dec 7, 2018 10:25 PM
Updated: Dec 7, 2018 10:26 PM

Women play starring roles in a flurry of films that will carry through the holiday season. But when it comes to the status of women in Hollywood, as Thursday's Golden Globe nominations suggested, it often feels like there's a step back -- or at least a pause -- for every step forward.

A shortage of quality roles for women -- especially older women -- has been a longstanding concern in the movie business, prompting many actresses to migrate to television.

Arts and entertainment

Business and industry sectors

Business, economy and trade

Chemical industry and chemicals

Demographic groups

Females (demographic group)

Media industry

Movie and video industry

Movies

Plastics

Population and demographics

Society

Still, this year's roster of year-end films -- many chasing awards consideration -- has yielded what feels like an unusually strong crop of female-driven vehicles, although that enthusiasm has been tempered by the lack of recognition for women behind the scenes.

This weekend brings "Mary Queen of Scots," starring Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie, which comes on the heels of another period costume drama, "The Favourite," which amassed Globe bids for all three of its leads, Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone.

Other new offerings include "Ben is Back," starring Julia Roberts as a mom dealing with the return of her drug-addict son; and "Vox Lux," a provocative, sure-to-be-polarizing drama, with Natalie Portman as a rock star who achieved fame through a public brush with tragedy.

Coming later this month, meanwhile, is "If Beale Street Could Talk," "Moonlight" director Barry Jenkins' adaptation of James Baldwin's novel, features a breakout performance by Kiki Layne as the central character and narrator of the story, and Regina King as her mother.

"Destroyer" casts Nicole Kidman as a world-weary detective faced with a threat from her past. Notably, Roberts and Kidman have recently found meaty roles in premium TV, in the series "Homecoming" and "Big Little Lies," respectively.

In addition to "Mary Poppins Returns" -- with Emily Blunt in the title role, expected to rank alongside "Aquaman" as one of the season's big moneymakers -- the lineup of holiday offerings includes "On the Basis of Sex," with Felicity Jones as Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, recounting a landmark sex-discrimination case from her days as an attorney.

In a lighter vein, there's "Second Act," a workplace comedy featuring Jennifer Lopez, opening before Christmas.

Yet despite this spate of actress-led projects, female directors were overlooked by the Golden Globes in that category, and none of the 10 nominated movies -- drama, or musical/comedy -- were directed by women. There was a similar shut-out this week when the American Film Institute unveiled its annual list of honorees.

The question of overall progress for women in Hollywood has lingered. The most recent edition of the annual "Celluloid Ceiling" report by San Diego State University's Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film -- released in January -- found "under-employment of women behind the scenes," and scant gains in 2017 compared to recent years, despite the conspicuous success of "Wonder Woman."

The challenge in focusing on projects that feature women -- including high-profile ones like Marvel's first solo female superhero vehicle, "Captain Marvel," which premieres in March starring Brie Larson -- is that emphasizing individual titles can obscure the larger picture.

After HBO's Emmy-winning "Big Little Lies" premiered in 2017, Kidman (who will also be seen this month as Aquaman's mom) noted that she and her fellow producer/co-star Reese Witherspoon "were frustrated because we weren't being offered the sort of roles we wanted in terms of complexity," developing the limited series "out of a desire to create an opportunity for ourselves."

In the aggregate, the aforementioned movies -- several of which were also directed by women -- look like the latest cracks in that "Celluloid Ceiling," and there's clearly heightened awareness of the issue. But after years of talk, it's going to take more than symbolic blows to break through it.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 31715

Reported Deaths: 1984
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion9189533
Lake3299167
Cass15826
Allen127766
St. Joseph117034
Hendricks112367
Hamilton109992
Johnson1082104
Elkhart100827
Madison58258
Porter48721
Bartholomew48033
Clark45838
LaPorte40821
Tippecanoe3733
Jackson3611
Howard35618
Delaware35434
Hancock31927
Shelby31421
Floyd31338
Boone28235
Morgan26124
Vanderburgh2482
Montgomery22717
White2268
Decatur22431
Clinton2151
Noble18520
Grant18520
Harrison18521
Dubois1822
Greene16723
Warrick16426
Dearborn16221
Monroe16010
Henry1597
Vigo1477
Lawrence14322
Miami1391
Putnam1337
Jennings1274
Orange12422
Scott1183
Ripley1126
Franklin1068
Carroll922
Kosciusko861
Daviess8216
Steuben792
Newton7410
Wabash722
Wayne695
Fayette654
Marshall641
LaGrange602
Jasper561
Washington521
Fulton471
Rush452
Jay430
Jefferson411
Randolph403
Pulaski390
Clay391
Whitley392
Brown331
Sullivan321
Starke313
Owen311
DeKalb291
Perry270
Huntington262
Benton250
Knox240
Crawford230
Wells230
Tipton221
Blackford201
Switzerland190
Fountain182
Parke170
Posey170
Spencer161
Gibson142
Ohio130
Adams121
Warren121
Vermillion90
Martin90
Union80
Pike60
Unassigned0152

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 32477

Reported Deaths: 1987
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin5310237
Cuyahoga3963217
Marion261921
Hamilton2458128
Lucas2126229
Pickaway204335
Mahoning1341169
Summit1236159
Butler80225
Stark68589
Lorain64858
Columbiana60950
Montgomery60515
Trumbull52942
Belmont39012
Miami34830
Warren33619
Tuscarawas3182
Portage31458
Medina30219
Delaware30013
Ashtabula28132
Wood27645
Lake26811
Geauga25729
Wayne25050
Fairfield2403
Clark2236
Licking20710
Allen19131
Mercer1903
Clermont1885
Richland1863
Erie1575
Darke15316
Madison1347
Washington11718
Crawford1043
Morrow1041
Greene935
Ottawa917
Putnam8714
Monroe7111
Sandusky6810
Ross662
Hocking654
Auglaize643
Jefferson622
Huron551
Williams521
Hancock481
Muskingum450
Union450
Clinton430
Hardin410
Shelby412
Logan370
Fayette370
Wyandot362
Fulton360
Defiance322
Guernsey310
Preble301
Carroll282
Lawrence280
Holmes271
Champaign261
Brown251
Coshocton240
Knox231
Vinton191
Seneca192
Ashland180
Highland181
Perry181
Scioto150
Henry150
Athens141
Paulding130
Jackson110
Harrison100
Adams81
Gallia71
Pike60
Meigs60
Morgan50
Noble50
Van Wert50
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 81°
Angola
Clear
84° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 87°
Huntington
Few Clouds
90° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 92°
Decatur
Clear
84° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 86°
Van Wert
Clear
84° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 86°
Pop-Up Storms Tuesday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events