Sandra Bullock, Jessica Chastain Challenge Hollywood’s All-Male Status Quo

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In her new column on the Oscar race for Women and Hollywood at Indiewire, Susan Wloszczyna celebrates the longevity of Sandra Bullock’s career arc. When you look at where she started and now, where she’s landed with Gravity you can’t help but marvel at the ways she’s redefining not only her career but the potential trajectory for actresses over 40 in Hollywood.

Last year’s Zero Dark Thirty made $95 million, and eventually took the number one spot at the box office when it opened wide and was headed straight for the Oscar race before it was hit with controversy. But to understand the kind of tiny revolution happening here one must set aside that controversy for the moment and look only at the success of that film. Let’s also forget it was directed by a woman because that, too, is beside the point.

What is to the point with Zero Dark Thirty is that a film with a woman in the lead, making the decisions, having the whole plot turn around her character is the kind of thing Hollywood has to be talked into. Maybe it seemed like a one-off last year. You could say that the subject matter — killing Bin Laden — was enough to drive the box office. But either way, the facts are the facts: a film with a woman in the lead who wasn’t naked, having sex, someone’s mother, wife or girlfriend was kicking ass and taking names.

Cut to 2013. Here comes another film with a female in the lead — not naked, not having sex, not someone’s mother, wife or girlfriend headlining the film. Not only that, but Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity turns on her inner world. It isn’t just that she’s the one saving herself — it’s that she’s also allowed to be a woman in the part; she doesn’t have to suck it all up and deal, or act like a man. She cries! Her tears float forward in stunning 3D so vividly they might splash on your own face. She’s very much a woman’s woman in Gravity — she’s a mother, but that’s a part of her life she’s long since had to give up on. She even maybe sees herself as helpless until the very moment she realizes she isn’t. The subject itself — gravity — is very much a woman’s worst enemy in a way, always dragging down parts of our bodies. And yet, here it is, the best thing imaginable to Dr. Ryan Stone who is out there in space, completely alone.

In Short Term 12, somehow Daniel Deston Cretton decided to write a whole film about a female character. Listen, it used to happen all of the time. Somehow, right around the mid-90s, films driven by female characters stopped doing well with critics and at the box office. Before you knew it it was a “thing.” Now, the majority of films revolve around a central male character. Sure, you have your Hunger Games and Twilight franchises, which are all women really have left that is any kind of power grab. But Short Term 12 harkens back to a time when women were actually people, when they actually mattered to audiences so that the five white guys in suits that run Hollywood would feel it beneficial to greenlight films about them.

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In Short Term 12, the brilliant Brie Larson heads up a foster home where most of the kids are aging out. She mentors another young teen girl and mostly holds the place together even while she’s falling apart. Sure, these movies do get made now and again — but most of the time they are stuffed into the ghetto of “indie film.” Middle of Nowhere was a film about a woman — a black woman — and it was like pulling teeth getting anyone to see it, to write about it, to vote on it for any awards. As it happened, Ava DuVernay had a great year and is now a voting member of the Academy, a formidable force who seems to care about the future of film.

This is a distinctly American phenomenon. Here, actresses get younger and younger every year. Our biggest and most powerful star is Jennifer Lawrence, all of 22 years old. But actresses 25 and up now have to fight for the very few good roles that come out every year for women and here, actresses have to be beautiful and sexy on top of that. If you go to the Cannes film festival and see what other filmmakers are doing all over the world you will see women viewed very differently.

No one knows for sure what caused the shift. But now it is time for the five white guys in suits who run Hollywood to take a good long look at Gravity — Sandra Bullock opened that film at number one, with $55 million.  It isn’t a romantic comedy, nor a rescue fantasy, nor a pulpy cinematic lapdance.  It’s a solid drama, starring — gasp — a woman.

Jessica Chastain had two number one movies last year — Zero Dark Thirty and Mama. These examples disprove the notion that movies starring women don’t open, don’t make money or aren’t awards bait. They can be.  They are.  Originally, the studio that had Gravity wanted a man to star in it, not a woman. But Cuaron stuck to the idea that it had to star a woman and look! It was actually successful! Imagine that.

So people will say, oh, it only did well because it was an effects-driven film with rave reviews. And they’ll also say George Clooney was one of the bigger draws as well. But none of that matters. All that matters is that Sandra Bullock opened the fucker. She opened it. At almost 50 years old.

It’s also time to talk about Meryl Streep’s continual success at the box office. That is also counter to the myth that movies about (older) women don’t do well, or that audiences won’t come out to see them. August: Osage County is going to make money. Saving Mr. Banks, starring Emma Thompson, is going to make money.

Perhaps we are entering a new era with fresh minds. How can anyone now say Gravity would have been better cast with a man?  It’s 2013 – we’re maybe on the brink of having a woman president for the first time ever. How can the films being made still reinforce the notion that only a guy can do it? Just a thought.

132 Comments on this Post

  1. phantom

    I’ve already made these points earlier but it is more relevant here :

    1. With GRAVITY opening with 55.55M, the Hollywood system once again got bitchlapped big time : they greenlit a bunch of original sci-fi-s with big budgets hoping their leading MEN (Tom Cruise’s Oblivion, Will Smith’s After Earth, Matt Damon’s Elysium) will deliver the kind of opening weekend only a leading LADY could for an original sci-fi this year.

    2. Ironically enough, Bullock (with great help from Melissa McCarthy) also impressed with THE HEAT at the Box Office this year, proving once again that the audience doesn’t need a ridiculously high budget and two men to embrace the action-packed buddy ‘comedy’ genre…yes, I’m looking at you White House Down…AND The Lone Ranger!

    3. Hollywood seems to be growing up. At the moment the youngest of the five strongest Best Actress contenders is Cate Blanchett (44) and the oldest is Judi Dench (78). The others are Sandra Bullock (49), Emma Thompson (54) and Meryl Streep (64). Did that really just happen ? Actresses of a certain age are FINALLY getting worthy LEAD roles ?

  2. Bryce Forestieri

    A film with a 98% tomato rating is number 1 at the box office. This is a good thing.

    –Edgar Wright

  3. Julianne Moore is also challenging this status-quo with “Carrie” coming out later this month and David Cronenberg’s “Maps to the Stars” next year, in which she has a role that sounds like pure dynamite.

  4. It’s interesting but watching GRAVITY I did think of Chastain last year. I thought that both characters started off too dainty to try to show some kind of character development. In GRAVITY (spoilers) Bullock seemed to desperately need Clooney until he wasn’t there anymore. Only in his absence was she suddenly able to take charge for herself. In ZD30 I didn’t find it realistic that someone in Chastain’s field would be so shocked by torture even on their first day. I don’t understand why they both couldn’t have started off strong, like Sigourney Weaver in the ALIENS movies did back in the day. Or even Linda Hamilton in the TERMINATOR films. Or Beatrix Kiddo in KILL BILL. I guess times have changed. Or maybe it’s just always depended on the director.

  5. i think in the particular cases of sandra bullock and meryl streep it helps that they were known and trusted stars that audiences have been going to see for many years, since they were younger.

    you may not like most of sandra’s movies, but she’s been a star since the 90’s and people have loved her forever (even a lot of her bad movies had strong legs and high grosses in the end). she had her huge box office comeback a few years ago, but it’s not like people didn’t already know her and she’d never had a hit. what’s new with her is the critical and awards recognition all of a sudden (and the even bigger grosses, too).

    but i imagine it’d be a lot harder for an unknown woman in her late 40’s to suddenly become a star for the first time

  6. I just looked up her box office. ( http://boxofficemojo.com/people/chart/?id=sandrabullock.htm ) I had no idea THE BLIND SIDE made that much. Holy crap. lol I think that figure is definitely in danger with GRAVITY. Especially with the added 3D money.

  7. moviewatcher

    So glad Gravity did well. 55 million and counting!

    But why didn’t you mention Blanchett, Sasha? Woody Allen has been writing strong parts for women for nearly 40 years now and Cate Blanchett just gave us perhaps the best performance of her career.

  8. phantom

    In ZD30 I didn’t find it realistic that someone in Chastain’s field would be so shocked by torture even on their first day. I don’t understand why they both couldn’t have started off strong, like Sigourney Weaver in the ALIENS movies did back in the day. Or even Linda Hamilton in the TERMINATOR films. Or Beatrix Kiddo in KILL BILL. I guess times have changed. Or maybe it’s just always depended on the director.

    More like on the character’s background. If my memory serves me well, witnessing the torture was Maya’s first day on the field and strangely enough I don’t recall her being ‘shocked’ at all. However I do recall the torture victim unsuccesfully trying to get her sympathy, indicating that she did indeed start off VERY strong.

    Similar explanation for Dr. Ryan Stone, too : first space mission, brief prep work and training resulting basically non-existent experience, so heavily relying on the mission COMMANDER with about two decades of experience in a life-and-death kind of emergency situation, makes perfect sense. As Sasha said, it was refreshing to see a strong female character allowed to be a woman’s woman.

  9. Cuaron stuck to the idea that it had to star a woman and look! It was actually successful!

    So people will say, oh, it only did well because it was an effects-driven film with rave reviews. And they’ll also say George Clooney was one of the bigger draws as well.

    Specifics aren’t yet in, but I’d say Gravity’s great box office performance is very much down to Sandra Bullock’s presence. Sci-fi films can have a tough time attracting women, and it wouldn’t surprise me if a significant proportion of the extra $15-20 million-ish that Gravity made in excess of expectations was due to women.

    Its opening is, by some margin, the highest of the careers of both Bullock and George Clooney. I don’t expect anyone will posit the notions that the fact that it’s an effects-driven film drove it to such a high opening gross (it certainly is that, but it doesn’t function as the typical effects feature), nor the fact that it stars Clooney – he’s never starred in a $200 million movie, not even franchise films like Batman + Robin nor any of the Ocean’s films. Bullock, however, has The Blind Side, which made over $255 million; she’s the only woman in box office history to be featured as the sole above-the-title credit in a $200 million movie.

  10. Gravity will probably hold on well, but for it to make The Blind Side numbers, it’d have to make almost 80% of its total post-opening weekend, and that’s a rare figure for sci-fi films.

  11. Some specifics based on estimates:

    46% of the audience was female, which pretty much proves that Sandra Bullock’s presence did help to drive its grosses so high.

    It has comfortably set a new record for opening weekends in the traditional Autumn period (September and October); it’s the tenth film in history to make over $40 in this period, but the only live-action non-sequel to do so, which is a remarkable achievement.

  12. More techy specs! But they’re promising for the film’s potential success:

    A- Cinemascore
    32% boost Friday-Saturday
    59% of audience aged 35+

    All indications that the film will hold well, not even considering its exceptionally good reviews.

  13. John Oliver

    Great for all the actresse out there. I’ve loved Sandra since Speed.
    And she delivers in Gravity. I must say however, after seeing Gravity and Captain Phllips yesterday, Captain Phillips was the winner-it was two hours straight of tension. I would further state it was a near-perfect film, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it garnered nominations for Best picture, director, actor, supporting actor, adapted screenplay, editing, cinematography, music scoring, sound, and sound editing.

  14. (spoilers) Perhaps I’m misremembering ZD30. I only saw it once but I thought that the scene with the wig and how she was combing it with her fingers was supposed be a sort of visual turning point for how not-girly she had become, especially since she was making a really mean face. My bad. And in the case of Bullock there was a lot of screaming and gasping and hyperventilating and panicking that all stopped immediately when Clooney disappeared. So the acting from both, I thought, was very overtly meant to show a sudden change in “toughness”. But I must be wrong since I liked neither film.

  15. I haven’t seen many big contenders yet but I can’t imagine an of them being better than Gravity. It’s revolutionary in every sense.

    By the way, can anyone name a big budget movie with a middle aged women as the main protagonist? Gravity is the first one, isn’t it?

  16. OT : Oh I forgot about the sneak preview. Can I ask if it was shaky? Greengrass tends to use shakycam and it gives me a headache. If it is, I’d like to know so I can sit further back and bring Advil.

  17. $55 million opening weekend but that’s primarily because most of the showtimes were only in 3D format. I saw it on Friday evening and the only 2D showtimes that my local theaters were offering were before 3:00pm. All subsequent showtimes were in 3D only.

  18. Christophe

    TOP 10 FEMALE MONEYMAKERS U.S.B.O. (Total/Average/#films over $100 mil.)

    1. Cameron Diaz ($2,806.4 mil./$93.5 mil./11)
    2. Julia Roberts ($2,603.9 mil./$68.5 mil./11)
    3. Emma Watson ($2,580.5 mil./$198.5 mil./9)
    4. Helena Bonham Carter ($2,538.5 mil./$81.9 mil./8)
    5. Sigourney Weaver ($2,176.2 mil./$49.5 mil./4)
    6. Kathy Bates ($2,164.1 mil./$51.5 mil./4)
    7. Cate Blanchett ($2,073.5 mil./$64.8 mil./7)
    8. Anne Hathaway ($1,944.1 mil./$97.2 mil./8)
    9. Sandra Bullock ($1,900.4 mil./$57.6 mil./6)
    10. Sally Field ($1,857.8 mil./$71.5 mil./5)

    This ranking, courtesy of Box Office Mojo, adds up both lead roles and supporting roles but doesn’t take into account cameos. Obvs. things would be quite different if we were to only count lead roles: Sandra Bullock would be in the Top 5, Meryl Streep and Kristen Stewart would be in the Top 10.

  19. phantom

    Hopefully Captain Phillips will have a leggy Box Office run because its Opening Weekend will be almost certainly hurt by the wildly overperforming Gravity that will probably take the BO crown next weekend, too, when Captain Phillips opens.

    Actually, I feel bad for the quality films in release right now, Gravity is stealing their thunder. Prisoners had a great opening weekend but couldn’t really live up to promising early signs (A- Cinemascore etc.) and will have very mediocre legs (60ish US total) unless it stays in theaters as long as Argo did last year (unlikely) and though Rush struggled right out of the gate, it also had great WOM that suggested it may make it to 40M (also the production budget) but it may not even get to 30M now, even though it will probably turn profit thanks to (hopefully) stronger international numbers…and at the end of the day, I should just feel lucky as a moviegoer that there are so many good/great films in theaters this fall !

  20. Bryce Forestieri

    What a year awaits Jessica Chastain with THE DISAPPEARANCE OF ELEANOR RIGBY, Nolan’s INTERSTELLAR, and MISS JULIE. I don’t think we’ll see CRIMSON PEAK until 2015, but if by some miracle it makes it for a December release a la PAN’S LABYRINTH I will be elated.

  21. Huh. I’m surprised Carrie Fisher didn’t make that list. Well.. there’s time. :)

  22. phantom

    In the last five years Bullock opened four films (The Proposal, The Blind Side, The Heat, Gravity) to 30M+, in four different genres (romcom, drama, action comedy, sci-fi), none were sequels or could rely on brand recognition, three were based on original screenplays and three were relatively low-budget. I think that pretty much proves that she is the most bankable actress at the moment…and at 49 – also receiving career-best reviews – that is pretty damn impressive.

    P.S: Cate Blanchett deserves praise for finding widely appealing prestige pics all the time.

  23. phantom

    Can’t wait !

  24. phantom

    Oh, poor Angelina Jolie who turned down Gravity TWICE and Robert Downey Jr. who left the project to star in How to Talk to Girls…a film that still hasn’t started production.

  25. So much of the Oscar race is $ driven. I sadly found that out last with the remarkable Ann Dowd giving the performance of her career in a low-budget Indie mishandled by the distributor, Magnolia. Dowd went into debt to the amount 16,000 smakeroos. And it wasn’t enough to land a nomination. Ad needed to taken out. Parties for her thrown. A re-release of the excellent, little seen film would’ve helped. Does anyone even remember its’ name a year later?

    Compare that with the MILLIONS that are being spent getting Bullock out there and everywhere. Her performance is superb. She’s beloved in Hwood, and “Gravity” is one for the ages and is an event film. Every one knows about it. And almost everyone in the country(and the academy) will see it.

    Its’ drawback Oscar-wise is that it NEEDS to be seen in IMAX 3-D. It won’t play well on a screener. Which means, I think that it will get nominated for BP, but not win. But Bullock could definately. It’s the high-point of her career.

  26. Christophe

    Carrie Fisher is #36 with $1321.8 mil. overall and $82.6 mil. on average (pretty impressive). I guess adjusted for inflation she’d be much closer to the top of the list.

  27. phantom

    Ann Dowd may have missed out on the Oscar BUT she did get a healthy career push out of the Compliance-exposure. I was pleasantly surprised to see her in Soderbergh’s SIDE EFFECTS and also to hear she was cast in Damon Lindelof’s promising HBO pilot THE LEFTOVERS.

    Look at the bright side…she may have lost the Oscar, but now she will have a chance to win an Emmy…and that could result other baity feature offers, just look at Margo Martindale, she won an Emmy for JUSTIFIED and then got the flashy, highly coveted role of Mattie Fae opposite Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts in AUGUST : OSAGE COUNTY.

  28. Christophe

    Interesting tidbits:
    – Except Titanic, no other film starring Kate Winslet grossed more than $100 mil. in the US. Her 2nd biggest success stateside is Contagion ($75.6 mil.). Her 2nd biggest success worldwide is The Holiday ($205.1 mil.).
    – right now, Jennifer Lawrence is far behind with “only” $729.2 mil. overall gross and an impressive average of $81 mil. per film. (3 films over $100 mil.). She will break the $1bn mark by the end of the year with The Hunger Games sequel, and if you add up the last 2 films of the series, the X-Men sequel and her likely successful collaborations with David O. Russell, she could break into the Top 10 within 2 or 3 years.

  29. Saw the sneak of Capt. Phillips last night. The hostage situation all the way up to the end is stellar filmmaking, but the movie almost completely lost me in its opening moments. The conversation Hanks has with Keener on the way to the airport was so unbelievably stilted and contrived. The worst kind of expositional, we-need-the-audience-to-understand-this-character’s-backstory-so-we’ll-have-him-and-his-wife-say-things-they-would-never-actually-say-to-each-other dialogue.

    I also felt a little queasy watching the mighty US military just thoroughly and completely dismantle these poor Somalians, regardless of how heinous their crimes were. To be clear, I think they deserve to be punished for what they’ve done, and Capt. Phillips did not deserve to be put in that situation, but that part of the world leaves very few options for someone who is on the brink of starvation daily and under the gun of vicious warlords who force young innocents to pick up a gun and do their bidding. Its simply a sad situation.

    This isn’t really a fault of the film, as Greengrass does his usual not-taking-sides thing. But there’s a depressing inevitability about the might of the great and powerful US just throttling these guys that coated my viewing experience, unfortunately.

  30. John Oliver

    He does use the steadycam, but not enough to make you sick. It moves so fast, tension from beginning to end, you won’t have time to think about it.
    Trust me, in my opinion, it is better than Gravity. 12 Years a Slave will have to go a long way to top this.
    I think this is Tom Hanks best performance ever!

  31. How will she be able to show her face to pick up her Oscar? And I doubt being the highest paid actor right now will console him at all. :(

    Come on. I know you love the movie but they’ve both put in better performances in better films and they will again.

  32. Aragorn

    I think these numbers show one thing: A good movie makes money…We need to have confidence on good projects, well-made movies.
    However, I wonder how many people have seen Gravity because of Sandra Bullock. Of course her name didnt hurt, probably helped but how much help are we talking about here? I have a feeling that a such a well-made movie with universally great reviews would have made similar box office…Again dont get me wrong: Sandra is good, didnt ruin the movie and helped with her name appeal but it is the movie, subject matter and the director and his vision are the reasons for the majority of the box office. Just like ZDT…It was a very well made movie and anyone with decent performance would have got the similar BO numbers. None of the people that I know went to see that movie because of Jessica C. even though she was good.

  33. Wow, just went and read Sasha’s review that I avoided until after viewing the film and she basically articulated the same feelings I had when watching it.

    “The film tries to tell parallel stories of the two captains, how dramatically different their lives are — what has brought them to this point and what will get them out of it. After all, on the Somali side there are no giant army tanks coming to their aid. On the American side, well, there is a reason so much of our tax dollars go towards fortifying our empire.”

    “…any intelligent person already knows that a ragtag group of hijackers who dare to attack the property of the United States — shoeless teenage nomads going up against the Navy SEALS, for god’s sake — has no earthly shot at winning this game….”

    These are exactly the things I was thinking about when leaving the film. I’m not sure how convincingly these things are illustrated in the film itself, however. Greengrass is almost TOO neutral of a filmmaker to the point where his movies can be accused of being dispassionate and cold. Hanks certainly brings a great deal of compassion to his role, and indeed some of the only real sympathy, or at least empathy, for those teen captors comes from his performance. But Mr. Greengrass just isn’t sentimental or humanistic enough as a storyteller to portray things in a way that would plant the film’s flag solely on the grounds of human empathy. It’s more like newsreel footage, albeit very well made newsreel footage.

  34. phantom

    I don’t doubt that this doesn’t hurt their career or their megastar status a bit, I just pointed out that it must suck that they turned down a film that turned out to be a success story of epic proportions. I get it, on paper it must have sounded way too risky and their people did the risk-analysis and opted out…only it would have been so great to see the ridiculously talented Downey in something OTHER than an iron suit…not that his space suit would have looked much different :)

  35. Zero Dark Thirty and Gravity are two masterpieces in two years and they are both driven by a magnificent female performance. Two great characters and two great actresses.
    Last year Jessica didn’t win but I really hope this year Sandra gets the Oscar she deserves.

  36. Gravity is a great film. I encourage people to see it at a good theatre in 3D, because it really is fresh and evolves cinema. I am less into the Sandra Bullock could win best actress meme than Sasha (her work is solid here but nothing extraordinary, particularly when you pull out the special effects). I am grateful though that a female has a strong role and carries a major Hollywood film. Cuaron is the star.

  37. The thought of Bullock being a 2 time Oscar winner is just
    well, crazy…The academy should let her oscar win for blind side be substituted for Gravity.

    Lead actress will go to Blanchett or Adams../

  38. Being a Sandra bullock fan, she is easily one of my favorite actresses, I am super happy about all of the success surrounding this film and that she opened it to a $55 million weekend.

    What must also be noted here though is Alfonso Cuaron and his son. Their accomplishments, their ability to break the rules as Mexicans and the bar they are setting for filmmakers in Hollywood. The path they are paving for other Mexican and Latino filmmakers. As a Hispanic I am also happy to the point of tears for this accomplishment.

    Both are awesome noteworthy accomplishments.

  39. I was waiting for this! I was sitting in the theater thinking why this film is so raved, why is this performance so raved….and Chastain from ZDT popped into my head. I can understand it but that doesnt mean I have to like it! Though honestly, (spoiler warning) comparing someone who tried to kill themselves to someone who killed Osama Bin Ladin is a stretch.(/end spoiler)

  40. Example of hype getting out of hand. I am sure Downey is crying over the BILLIONS of dollars Avengers 2 is gonna make in 2015. I am sure Jolie is worried about a sci fi film when she is directing her own Oscar bait film slated to come out next year. It’s one thing to like a movie, but you don’t need to tear down others for the choices they made.

  41. I wouldn’t say actresses are necessarily getting younger. After all, plenty of old classics like Roman Holiday, Rear Window, Big Sleep etc. had a female lead in her early twenties with a much older male lead. The biggest chance in last decade seems to stem from the disappearance of mid-sized dramas which provided good work for older actresses like Diane Keaton and the disappearance of those teen/college student taregted movies where actors were playing high school or college students until they were in their early thirties.

    For some reason there aren’t many movies portraying young women in their early twenties anymore so they either have to play someone younger or someone older but almost never someone their actual age. Lily Collins is 24 but always plays a teenager. Same for Emma Watson. Jennifer Lawrence either plays a teen or someone in her late twenties. I’m in mid twenties myself and find it pretty annoying there is a lack of movies featuring postgrad women or women just starting their careers.

  42. I don’t get the negativity around Bullock being a two time winner. Is it because Blanchett, Dench etc have “only” won one and Streep will have “only” won one more than her? Is that where the game is going??

  43. phantom

    Oh, God, you are all a sensitive bunch, aren’t you ? I didn’t mean to tear anyone down, certainly not those two whose work I love and respect, I simply shared the trivia that two high(er) profile actors were the first choices for the Gravity roles and they turned it down making room for Bullock and Clooney who set personal records with it. Sorry if it came down as something negative, it was certainly not my intention, I sincerely considered the possibility that now they may be regretting their decision. That’s it, no need to make a big fuss.

  44. Oh, really love your first point there. That’s a very striking connection for sure.

  45. Sasha,

    You should’ve included The Hunger Games as part of this article.

  46. Jennifer Lawrence will rule the world! In fact, she’ll be The Law!

  47. I think having 2 name actors helped with the film’s profile. The reviews are excellent but how many people would have heard about it if Bullock’s name wasn’t being bandied about? It helps with the awareness factor.

    Regardless, all this shows that audiences care more about a story that will grab them, than whether the lead is male or female. The studios have to get the idea that female protagonists are a deterrent to film-goers out of the heads. There’s been enough evidence to the contrary lately that surely the execs can no longer ignore the reality. Hell, maybe even the novelty of central female characters is attracting audiences. Perhaps it signals the film isn’t just another bland, clichéd, paint-by-numbers story, because the filmmakers had to stop and use their brains enough to consciously deviate from one of the well trodden paths (in this case, of male-driven storytelling).

  48. Alfonso Cuaron is a huge success too!! His contributions are worth emphasizing! For the hispanic/mexican/latino community as well as his contributions to Bullock’s success.

    She did not single handedly open this film Sasha, even she would say that. But she had a huge hand in it.

    Great article!

    thanks!

  49. LETS FACE IT PEOPLE!!!

    SANDRA BULLOCK TWO TIMES ACADEMY AWARD WINNER

  50. Thom G.

    Saw Gravity yesterday and it was outstanding. The depth that was put into Sandra Bullock’s character, with said actress having no problems projecting outward for the audience, made this movie so much more than a typical disaster movie. Let’s additionally not leave out the amazing cinematography this film provided to the audience. This film will definitely make people question not only whether or not disaster films are running their course out of Hollywood, but that a woman over a certain age can still remain a creditable box-office draw. It is nice to see Sandra Bullock at the top of her career and no longer behind fiery redhead Julia Roberts as the undisputed queen of the box-office. Something tells me Bullock is on track to be a dominate force throughout the rest of this decade and possibly the biggest female box-office draw of the 2010″s.

  51. i dont know, but i dont buy about blanchett being overdue for her first leading oscar, i mean if they made old lady bening lose twice without any oscar to swank, they definetely will do with her having one… so im not worry about it…

  52. I’ve read this type of comments a lot recently. But I don’t understand why when actors turn down roles all the time that turn into Oscar winning parts or block buster movies. Is it something about Angelina Jolie or RDJ that people like to attack.

    Sandra Bullock has always been a good actress and is wonderful in Gravity. But I did not think she deserved a Oscar for The Blind Side.

  53. Future_Filmmaker

    Gravity straight up floored me. We were literally on the edge of our seats panicking. A mesmerizing technical achievement for Hollywood. And the 3D immerses you, makes you feel as if your there, ducking at debris. Sandra Bullock was great, but I still don’t think she should beat Cate Blanchett. I would be completely happy with this masterfully made film being the first space thriller to win Best Picture.

  54. GoOnNow

    You cannot compare Bening to Blanchett. I’m not talking about talent here, both are exceptionally gifted.

    However, Blanchett has simply worked harder (and has been lucky) at achieving more both in the cinematic and theatrical world.

    Blanchett has been much more bankable than Bening; she has more Oscar nominations at a much younger age and is generally a much more talked about actor.

    The special thing Blanchett has, which no other actress out there has, is that she ends up playing very memorable characters (Galadriel, Irina Spalko) which are not necessarily always leads BUT these films make a lot of money and she constantly hunts down BIG ASS directors. I mean, she literally can’t stop herself.

    Next stop: Terrence Malick, Kenneth Branagh and once more Todd Haynes.

    I have not done the statistics but which living actress has been in 7 Best Picture nominated films? (MIND YOU, under the old 5 nominee system) I personally can’t think of any.

  55. K. Bowen

    SPOILER
    SPOILER
    SPOILER

    Ah, Gravity. That feminist film where the woman can’t drive and needs a man to come back from the dead to tell her to stop crying and get her act together.

  56. I know I’ll sound like a troll, but that headline kind of put me off. Chastain is nowhere near as bankable and popular as Bullock is, even if you didn’t mean to suggest that. Also, Gravity is a terrific film, but more for the visuals than the writing and acting, so come on, there’s no way Bullock is going to win another Oscar for it. And I doubt it will take Picture.

  57. SPOILER
    SPOILER
    SPOILER

    Ah, Gravity. That feminist film where the woman can’t drive and needs a man to come back from the dead to tell her to stop crying and get her act together.

    Ah Gravity. That film where the woman figures out exactly what she needs to do to get where she’s going — including remembering everything she needs to know about how to drive the vehicle that takes her there — and calls upon her own her own mental strength to conjure up the right memories of what she has learned by tapping into her own personal experience.

    If you’ll recall, George Clooney did not come back from the dead. You’re thinking of Gravity Depravity: Zombie Boyfriend. Whole different movie.

    All the strength Sandra Bullock found came from inside her own head. And I sort of feel sorry for anyone who didn’t get that.

  58. SPOILER
    SPOILER
    SPOILER

    Ah, Gravity. That feminist film where the woman… needs a man to come back from the dead to tell her to stop crying and get her act together.

    Oh you mean like Harry Potter needed Dumbledore to “come back from the dead” before Harry could get his act together? And 1000 other movies in which MEN facing death have visitations from deceased friends and relations to call up the life lessons, advice and support of loved ones long gone?

    Like Scrooge needed the Ghost of Christmas Past?
    Like George Bailey needed the pre-op angel Clarence?

    Or does it only bug you when a women has a dead guardian angel?

    [anyone want to pitch in here and help me assemble a list of brilliant movies in which the lead character is visited by a vision of a dead character who helps them through a crisis?]

    Let’s not even count all the millions of people throughout history who found strength to overcome hardship by talking to Jesus.

  59. SPOILER
    SPOILER

    Not really. (spoilers) The film made her have to have a memory of him to not kill herself, which she was about to do. Even if it was coming from her own mind, they still made it seem as if she needed to borrow his strength from the grave in order to keep fighting. If they wanted her to be a strong woman on her own, they could have just had her talk herself into like ‘come on, you can do it. Believe’ whatever. To actually have Clooney do another scene, made it seem as though she needed him, dead or alive.

  60. Exactly! She’s worked with the best on screen – Martin Scorsese, Terence Malik, David Fincher, Todd Haynes, Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson, Woody Allen, George Clooney, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Ridley Scott, Antony Minghella, Steven Soderbergh, Joe Schumacher, Wes Anderson, Ron Howard, Jim Jarmusch, Tom Tykwer, Mike Newell, Lasse Hallström et al. Even on stage she’s been directed by some of the best e.g. Liv Ullmann. She’s also worked with some of best known actors around – Judi Dench, Glenn Close, Ian McKellen, Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Ralph Fiennes, Geoffrey Rush, Tommy Lee Jones, Clive Owens, Alec Baldwin, Sally Hawkins, Matt Damon, Billy Bob Thornton, John Cusack, Angelina Jolie, Russell Crowe, Harrison Ford, Jim Broadbent, Heath Ledger, Richard Gere, Jonny Depp, Christopher Ecclestone etc etc. In a lot of these films she’s part of an ensemble cast and usually has a small but interesting role. She seems to pick her roles based on the people involved and the script than on how likeable or bankable her character or the film will be. Anthony Minghella expanded her small role in The Talented Mr Ripley to accommodate her talent and Woody Allen was quoted as writing Blue Jasmine with Cate Blanchett in mind after seeing her in The Talented Mr Ripley.

  61. SPOILER
    SPOILER
    SPOILER

    If they wanted her to be a strong woman on her own, they could have just had her talk herself into like ‘come on, you can do it. Believe’

    golly, what a great scene, Antoinette! So visually inventive! I’m on the edge of my seat just reading it.

    I remember that scene — from The Little Engine That Could, right?

  62. Watermelons

    The films of Oscar-winning screen legend Kate ‘The GREAT’ Winslet (Labor Day, Little Children) may not gross hundreds of millions of dollars in the US, but they gross infinitely deep appreciation in the ME! :-)

    -Watermelons

  63. SPOILERZ THIS COMMENT DOES CONTAIN!

    Clooney came back for one reason. Because he’s sooo fuckin’ suave.
    Half the audience thought he was still alive, the other half knew was wasn’t but wished he was.

    Me, I belong in the third camp.

  64. SPOILER
    SPOILER
    SPOILER

    While we’re at it, let’s make Sandra Bullock be fluent in Russian and Chinese.

    So then she can just tell the Russian guy on the radio to send help and then she’ll not waste our time trying to piece together the layout of the Shenzou control panel from memory and guesswork because what a boring 3 minutes of film that was, right?

    In fact, Why can’t she have superpowers like superman and just punch the space debris like a really manly woman would do. ’cause, wow, men who fly around in the air just by jumping — now that’s the kind of movie that teaches audiences the true meaning of improvised emergency self-reliance.

    Step 1) Learn Chinese like a man would, you dumb ol’ girl.

  65. Doesn’t Obi Wan appear in one of the Star Wars to help Luke?

  66. I bet Ryan wished it were Obi Wan instead of George Clooney at the window…
    Me, I like horror. I would have wished for Griffin Dunne in AWIL

  67. Yes! Good call. Remember all the complaints about “Weak-minded girly crybaby Luke Skywalker.”

  68. I bet Ryan wished it were Obi Wan instead of George Clooney at the window…

    Who wants to bet that’s not what I wish?

    I’ll keep quiet on the matter until all bets are in.

  69. Christophe

    Methinks the aim of this post was not to say Chastain is as a big a moneymaker as Bullock, but to point out that women can also lead a male-oriented film (action, thriller, sci fi) and do good business at the BO. But it’s nothing new, after all, Angelina Jolie was already doing big business in fanboy-driven Tomb Raider a decade ago.

  70. Ryan Stone. You need to change your name.

  71. Thanks, Christophe.

    One way to deduce the aim of this post is to look at what the post says:

    “These examples disprove the notion that movies starring women don’t open, don’t make money…”

    That means one thing: Sandra Bullock and Jessica Chastain are examples of women who can open a movie at #1. They are examples of women in movies starring women, movies that make money.

  72. Do you really think I need to change my name? Not sure why you seem to be angry with me, Mattoc.

  73. Ryan, are you being serious or silly?

  74. Trying to smile and be upbeat but, honestly, I’m feeling a bit stung.

    Not a great feeling to read wacky wishes being attributed to me along with suggestions that I’m Sasha’s wife or whatever the fock else that might have meant.

    I’m in a touchy place in my head tonight. Sorry if I misunderstood anyone’s tone.

  75. Christophe

    Exactly, she stars in great movies and even makes mediocre movies great. It’s a shame that mainstream audiences should be oblivious to so much greatness!

  76. Ryan, I was referring to Sandra Bullocks character, who has that name ironically…and not you and Sasha.
    I cannot vouch for the Cuarons

  77. I understand that you meant Sandra Bullock’s character.

    But if it had nothing to do with me+Sasha then I have to wonder why — in the 5 years you’ve known me — this is the first time you’ve suggested that I need to trade names with a Hollywood person.

    You’ve had lots of opportunities to say I should change my name to Ryan Gosling or Amy Adams, but that never came up :-[

  78. anyway I’ll drop out of the conversation on this page since I don’t want to risk having my own opinion in the mix brand me as a bully

  79. When I said “Ryan Stone. you need to change your name” – these were two separate comments. I said you need to change your name because it is similar to yours ( and Sasha)

    Looks like I picked the wrong week to give up,sniffing glue.

  80. Christophe

    Chill! It actually came to my mind when I first read about Bullock’s character: “Ryan Stone??? That’s like Sasha and Ryan had a baby… How liberal of them that they should choose the mom’s last name and the dad’s first name!”

  81. Emma Thompson in nomination, please. This year She return at Oscar competition.

  82. Don’t be like that. Antoinette wasn’t even referring to you.

  83. You speak the truth, Mirkin.
    Not only will she get nominated and return to the competition as you so eloquently put it – she may win.
    I have not seen the film, but I do know Emma Thompson is capable of anything.

  84. Christophe

    “Emma Thompson is capable of anything.”

    Wisely spoken! Here she is at the 2009 Cesar Awards, when she was presiding over the ceremony:

    http://www.canalplus.fr/c-cinema/c-ceremonie-des-cesar-sur-canal/pid5493-videos-archives-cesar.html?tab=2&vid=219018

    Sorry for the ad… Hope it works abroad!

  85. SPOILER

    Sheesh. Who the heck cares if it was she who formed her own memory, Clooney, Jeffrey Dahmer, Grandma Moses, a dog, a cat, an elephant, or a piece of toilet paper …. She got herself out of it with no one else at her side. These feminist/not-feminist spins/takes drive me nutty. Who cares.

  86. You’re really pulling for straws with this. Just because Ryan needed the extra push not to hold on does not mean she isn’t truly a strong character. Everyone needs a little help sometimes, especially in those situations, man or woman.

  87. Bryce Forestieri

    I had to check out the 2009 Best Actress nominees since it’s a big subject at the moment. So… Who exactly did Bullock “steal” the Oscar from? My guess is Carey Mulligan, but I don’t understand petty/catty Best Actress grudges as well as many of my fellow AD readers. Here’s how it should have gone:

    Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role 2009

    1. Charlotte Gainsbourg – ANTICHRIST
    2. Kim Hye-ja – MOTHER
    3. Raquel Saavedra – THE MAID
    4. Carey Mulligan – AN EDUCATION
    5. Giovanna Mezzogiorno – VINCERE

    —————-The Next Five—————-

    6. Katie Jarvis – FISH TANK
    7. Kim Ok-bin – THIRST
    8. Maria Heiskanen – EVERLASTING MOMENTS
    9. Penelope Cruz – BROKEN EMBRACES
    10. Zooey Deschanel – (500) DAYS OF SUMMER

    Most Underrated: Emily Blunt – THE YOUNG VITORIA

  88. Again, an excellent post as usual Sasha. Thanks for these insights.

    Also, Jessica Chastain just posted about your article on her Facebook :)

  89. Hunger games as a “power grab” is pretty dismissive of a story about at 16 year old girl who has to be in a games that kills children and then after that be a part of a revolution to overthrow the government which she doesn’t do it without tears in her eyes. She is pretty vulnerable (she does have PTSD) Katniss is a raw and vulnerable and a woman’s woman.

    She isn’t a man’s fantasy of what a strong woman would like especially since the book she is based on is a woman and the fact that she is a TEENAGER dealing with a lot of shit that is more above her than she thinks.

  90. Also I might add that while I admire and respect the actresses you mentioned. We need to talk about the seriously lack of women of color as fore fronts of movies and talk about how much white women are praised while women of color are pushed to the side.

    We really need to talk about that.

  91. Bryce Forestieri

    I never felt bullied when I expressed not believing ZERO DARK THIRTY is a masterpiece or even a great film. Just try to come up with arguments to explain yourself, you don’t even have to succeed. Nobody’s changing anyone’s mind with something as subjective.

  92. Bryce Forestieri

    No way I need to check it out!!

  93. ^ bingo

  94. “Check out this wonderful article by the amazing Sasha Stone.”

    That’s what Jessica Chastain just typed on her FB then linked to this article!

  95. moviewatcher

    Sasha, Jessica Chastain just posted your article on facebook!
    “Hello beautiful ones
    Check out this wonderful article by the amazing Sasha Stone. Kudos to Hollywood for starting to make films about women, but the biggest praise goes to you all. When you buy a ticket for a film, you dictate to the studios what you want to see. You are changing this industry. What an exciting time we live in!
    Now we just gotta get our girl, Viola Davis, leading a film. I for one, will be first in line to buy that ticket….. xxjes”

    https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=561355710602157&id=130560923681640

  96. John Doe

    Indeed, there are many “older” women in Hollywood rocking the numbers right now. Also on tv with Lucy Liu, Connie Nielsen and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Julianne Moore, Nicole Kidman, Sandra Bullock, Helen Mirren and Cate Blanchett have been making widely succesful films for years now. Which is good, ’cause I personally find women as such better actors. BUT there’s also another side to it. Women like Renee Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Hilary Swank, Juliette Binoche even Angelina Jolie and a lot of others have completely disappeared. They scored big at box-office when they were 20 or something and now they have lost control of their careers. And men like Tom Cruise and Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones and Daniel Craig continue to make successful films, not because they are better than women but because they are not women. Let’s just say that the direction is good. Go Meryl, go Cate, go Nicole go Sandra!

  97. SO cool.

  98. Jpns Viewer

    “. . . I do know Emma Thompson is capable of anything.”

    +1
    Next year’s showdown: Cate Blanchett and Emma Thomson. (Please, UFO Gods. . . .)

  99. Right on, Sasha!!

  100. Good choices, Bryce! I went with Katie Jarvis, FISH TANK (2nd: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Antichrist, followed by: Catalina Saavedra, The Maid; Gabourey Sidibe, Precious; Carey Mulligan, An Education; Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side; Annette Bening, Mother and Child; Meryl Streep, Julie and Julia)

  101. Completely agree with this comment. When has a lead female character ever NOT been a mother (or displayed maternal instincts), needed male support (at some point during her “evolution”), expressed female emotions (sobs, although sometimes contained anger) despite their heroine status? It’s not to say these films or characters shouldn’t be created and visualized, but that’s all that’s being made for these actresses to play – show me something that at some point in the film, doesn’t sexualize women for the audience. Bullock can’t even be in space without a guy hitting on her. And of course he saves her.

    I find it laughable that this article is touting Gravity, Zero Dark Thirty, and Short Term 12 as challenging the male status-quo. I’m failing to see what new departures these heroines have made from their stereotypes, aside from additional screen time. It isn’t anything new, it’s not even a twist, it’s simply a redressing of age-old stereotypes of women. It’s the same ol’ shit.

  102. unlikely hood

    But Gravity plays more like a horror film than a sci-fi (no heady concepts), and this is the year of big horror film openings – with and without big female leads.

    Though I agree this is progress for people of Sandra Bul’s age. (I’m taking away her ‘lock’ because having seen the film, I now know she’s no lock for a BA nomination.)

  103. I think there is a huge difference between ZD30 and Gravity in terms of female heroines. Maya in ZD30 was basically genderless and it really wasn’t until the end of the film where we saw some tears but that didn’t make me think woman. In fact, most of the film made a point about the character not being a women.

    What I think is so special about Gravity and Bullocks performance is that it doesn’t see her frailties as female frailties but still embraces the idea that she’s a women, allows her to react, cry, express uncertainly, vulnerability, yet persevering like most women do. The problem I have with the typical action female roles is that most are genderless or oversexed or overpowering. But not this one. It’s what makes Bullocks character so special. A Jolie, while she probably would have been fine in the role, would not have been special. People would be talking about how kickass she is not how human she is.

    And it’s a little disheartening in a sense that even women in this industry can’t appreciate Bullock’s prior successes because much of it was centered around the romcom genre, like that’s taboo. It’s as marketable action centric films are, so why is it looked down on.

    I do give Bullock a ton of credit for being able to do action, comedy, and drama equally well and be able to attain great box office numbers.

  104. SPOILER
    SPOILER

    Uh excuse me, inner strength and all that bologna? Please. She only advanced because of the Asian guy on the radio who thought her name was “Mayday”.

  105. unlikely hood

    “When has a lead female character ever NOT been a mother (or displayed maternal instincts), needed male support (at some point during her “evolution”), expressed female emotions (sobs, although sometimes contained anger) despite their heroine status?”

    All about All About Eve.

    But I think you’re taking away from Ryan Stone by demanding she be less womanly. Her vulnerable bits made the story better, for me.

  106. unlikely hood

    It’s not sci fi!!

    Do you think Apollo 13 is sci fi?

    If so, Netflix disagrees with you. They list its genres as “Dramas Based on Real Life, 20th Century Period Pieces, Suspense, Drama”

    Gravity is no more sci fi than Apollo 13

    QED

  107. unlikely hood

    +1
    Or better, 3D IMAX.
    Sandra Bul was perfectly good. But she’s no ‘lock’ for a nomination – not with the debris field that’s coming

  108. unlikely hood

    “she’s the only woman in box office history to be featured as the sole above-the-title credit in a $200 million movie”

    Jennifer Lawrence = chopped liver

  109. Christopher Lewis

    “In fact, most of the film made a point about the character not being a women.”

    I find this argument to be a little reductive and basically means that there is only one kind of way to be a woman. ZD30 actually makes a large point to show how Maya is different than her male counterpoints–and yet she is able to get her hands dirty with the rough stuff, as the film defines it. She’s far more analytical, driven, and passionate than the men in the movie. They tend to think in the now (now all of them, but a lot), while she can see the bigger picture–albeit, she’s impatient with it.

    Stone in Gravity is a different case–we’re dealing with a mother who has lost her child and is attempting to move on with her life. Through her journey we see her learn not only how to survive, but why to survive.

    Two different characters, both complicated, and both definitely women!

  110. I can respect your opinion I don’t agree. I just didn’t find anything unique or special about Maya in ZD30. To me she just existed to move the plot along. I think the film actually did a disservice to the group of women who actually worked in the CIA on this anti terrorist team, as it was a collaboration. There wasn’t anything that made the character distinctive female. Women are different from men and Bigelow seemed to go out of her way to want us to not see that.

    Your equating IMO Bullocks character different because she had a child but in essence the character had almost the same issue Maya did in ZD30, her life had almost a single purpose. But with Bullock, we get more insight, more instances of vulnerability, survival, and yes hope. Different message yes, but I found as a woman and human, it resonated more to me than the stoic character in ZD30.

  111. Tilda! Tilda Swinton in “Julia”!!!

  112. Christopher Lewis

    I wonder what distinctly female looks like…honestly wondering, no shade.

  113. Well no, Apollo 13 is a dramatization of something that actually happened. Gravity isn’t. It could happen, sure, but it’s not based on anything real.

  114. Fair question and one I can’t answer. But I do know a lot of the original feminist movement went out of the way to show we women are equal. I think the movement has come a long way and we now know that women can be themselves and still be strong and don’t have to be emasculated to show strength and competence.

    I do think it’s a bit of a disservice to Bullock giving her kudos now only because she’s fronting an action film when she’s been making and drawing millions at the box office for years leading films, but somehow these films are not as ‘important” because they are romantic comedies. Hey money is money right?

  115. knee play

    This article got a shout-out from Chastain’s (legit) facebook page:

    Hello beautiful ones
    Check out this wonderful article by the amazing Sasha Stone. Kudos to Hollywood for starting to make films about women, but the biggest praise goes to you all. When you buy a ticket for a film, you dictate to the studios what you want to see. You are changing this industry. What an exciting time we live in!
    Now we just gotta get our girl, Viola Davis, leading a film. I for one, will be first in line to buy that ticket….. xxjes

  116. knee play

    Oops. Apprently several beat me to it.

  117. I think it’s reasonable to ask for more than one movie like that though…

    And it’s not about whether Ryan’s character turned out to be a good one in and of herself. Of course there are going to be good characters who happen to be vulnerable women, but that doesn’t mean every female character (or a vast majority of female characters) should be like that.

    Imagine if Ryan’s and Matt’s roles in the movie had been switched. I feel like that would blow some people’s minds.

  118. Actually the persons who truly challenged the status quo in this case are Kathryn Bigelow and Alfonso Cuaron. Alfonso Cuaron fought to have his lead be a woman and Bigelow got to tell the story her way because of her masterful work as a director.

    Stop giving the stars too much credit when it’s the people behind the scenes who made the real difference. Gravity made a lot of money mainly from the great marketing effort and the great reviews. Bullock helped but come on, be real. Chastain was not the selling point of Zero Dark Thirty and Mama made money from being a horror story and having an intriguing concept. Both are great actresses but give credits where credits are due.

  119. unlikely hood

    Alyssa – Sci-fi always features either the future and/or the paranormal and/or tech beyond the tech we have. Don’t take it from me, take it from Netflix or Isaac Asimov or the Saturn Awards people or various fanzines or whatever. Otherwise ALL fiction would be science fiction.

    Gravity is a fantastic film that I loved. Just saying that again.

  120. Bryce Forestieri

    Thanks! And I just renamed Catalina Saavedra. Mortifying. Have to get Raquel Welch out of my head (as if). I have not seen MOTHER AND CHILD.

  121. Bryce Forestieri

    I consider it for 2010

  122. Bryce Forestieri

    GRAVITY is a master class in film direction, as harrowing as it is haunting & beautiful. Bullock & Clooney are terrific. Cuaron CRUSHES IT.

    –Brad Bird (THE IRON GIANT, RATATOUILLE)

  123. Christopher Lewis

    Count me as someone who has long been a fan of Bullock (I’ll confess that Two Weeks Notice is a pleasure of mine). I’ll also admit that I did get swept up in some momentary dislike when she won for The Blind Side, something that her acceptance speech (one of my all time favs) and a recent pre-Gravity re-watch quelled. She is a truly talented actress, able to blend together the comedic, genuine movie star charm/charisma, and vulnerability. She’s the real deal and I have long thought so.

    My main problem with discussing any minority in film is that we often want them to become totally positive images–I think that we can have Chastain in Zero Dark Thirty, Bullock in Gravity (and The Heat), Blanchett in Blue Jasmine, Louis-Dreyfus in Enough Said, Delpy in Before Midnight, and hopefully the list will go on throughout the year (I bring Chastain in to this year, only because of the article). It’s all a part of the spectrum of what it means to be a woman and how film can depict them. The question isn’t how bad ass women have to be–it’s how complicated they are.

  124. +1 very good point!

  125. superkk

    hmm i think the movie will get nominated lots of awards like cinematagrophy, special effects, best picture and all that good stuff. wasnt my favorite movie by any means but i can see why the average person will like it, especially oscar voters – it has a lot of symbolism, metaphors and has a good story.mmm i dont know i just think i went in with way too many expectations but by no means did i hate it. i think i wanted to LOVE it but i just didnt. oh well:/ again wasnt a bad movie just not one of my favs.

    sandra was good. again not my favorite female performance ever haha but she can get a nomination..sure… and i wouldnt be surprised if she did.

    ugh..im just kinda conflicted with this movie and i almost wish i didnt post this/:

    ehh im over it… im now just ready for captain phillips this weekend lol.

  126. Zach M.

    I had my issues with Sandra winning for The Blind Side, mostly because I didn’t think it was a great performance, and I hated the film. However, I would have no issue with her winning Best Actress (though I’ve yet to see Blanchett in Blue Jasmine), I thought she was incredible, in a way very similar to James Franco in 127 Hours.

    Also doesn’t hurt that Gravity was spectacular, and maybe the current crowning achievement of special effects cinema.

  127. Zach M.

    *winning Best Actress for Gravity

  128. “Saving Mr. Banks, starring Emma Thompson, is going to make money” LMAO! Yeah, that’s all Tom Hanks sweetie.

  129. Two words: ERIN BROCKOVICH.

    More than 10 years ago, Julia Roberts headlined a movie as the sole star that made 125 million dollars in the US and 256 million world wide, a movie that wasn’t a (romantic) comedy, but a drama / thriller without any action or any special effects, a movie with a female lead who was, indeed, “kicking ass and taking names”.

    The adjusted domestic gross of “Erin Brockovich” would be 190 million today. I mean, that’s an amazing success, and I think people don’t talk about it enough.

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