It’s no secret that the film industry is a cut throat business but there are a number of names that have made it look easy. Alfred Hitchcock and Martin Scorsese are long recognized among the greatest directors of all time. But for a long time women have been treated as second best, although it’s not as bad as all female characters being played by men (like in Shakespeare times), women rarely receive top billing in films and very few get the chance to direct. In fact, the best director Oscar has never been won by a female. Here we take a look at gender inequality in the film industry and how I may be changing over the coming years.
Overall there is a lack of female directors in film. Kathryn Bigelow, director of the Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, is one of just a handful who has broken the mould by directing a number of Hollywood blockbusters, and has even won two Academy Awards, the first and only woman to do so. Of the 21 films selected for the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, only three of them were directed by women. 2017 will be a special year as it marks the 70th edition of the annual festival and competition is set to be fiercer than ever. If you’re planning to attend the event, remember the importance of applying for an EHIC before you go.
Woody Allen, an honorary recipient of the Palme d’Or in 2002, opened the 2016 festival with his 47th film, Café Society. Allen has never been afraid to write big films for lead actresses. Much of his early work was dominated by his real life partners Diane Keaton and Mia Farrow. In recent years he has written lead roles for Cate Blanchett, Scarlett Johansson and Emma Stone. His next project, currently untitled and set for a 2017 release, has reportedly cast Kate Winslet in the lead.
The Kentucky born actress has certainly made a name for herself as Mystique, in the X-Men prequels, and Katniss Everdeen in the Hunger Games series, both massive franchises in the action movie world. She has also found a home for herself in the movies of David O. Russell, starring in Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle and Joy. O. Russell even hit out at one point, likening Lawrence’s Hunger Games contract to slave labour.
In late 2015, Lawrence hit out in an essay about the gender pay gap in Hollywood. It was something that she only realised after the infamous Sony hack revealed just how much some of her male co-stars were getting paid in comparison. She blamed herself for not negotiating harder for fear of coming across as spoilt, difficult or even risk losing the part. Since then, headlines were made for more positive reasons when Lawrence negotiated top billing and a higher salary than her co-star Chris Pratt for the upcoming ‘Passengers’ movie. Pratt will earn $12 million while Lawrence will get at least $20m.