Its a sad look that there’s no WOC in this pic of us promoting our female lead films. The industry needs to become more inclusive in its storytelling. What were your favorite WOC lead films this year? I LOVED @salmahayek in #BeatriceAtDinner https://t.co/tzoijwy88q
— Jessica Chastain (@jes_chastain) December 24, 2017
Jessica Chastain, one of the great ambassadors of women in film (not a bad actress actually), is making a pretty simple, crucial statement on Twitter. An isolated notion we hear all too well in film media. Why? Because things are changing slower than snail’s pace. For a big, ferocious, illustrious industry such as this, we’re left speechless.
The actress flourishing in lead roles like recent releases The Zookeeper’s Wife, Miss Sloane, Molly’s Game, struggled to think of 5 women of color in central roles from the last year. There’s plenty of actresses like Emma Stone, Julianne Moore, Amy Adams, and Chastain herself, bossing the big roles in the last few years. But that’s not the color we’re looking for.
There are two or three real stand-outs in 2017 that fit the bill. And names everyone throws into the ring – hey, they even stand a shot a the prestigious golden Oscar guy. But as Chastain chipped in, these were supporting roles. We’re talking about the lead roles. The front-line of the motion picture narrative. The name at the top of the poster. I tried to personally top Chastain’s potential five lead women of color. A super-dry mouth and brutal headache later (cussing and head-shakes respectively) I was no better off. Look at custom lists on IMDB and Letterboxd, for example, by the time you have counted three, four, five women, we’re back in 2015, 2014, 2013. Even Google is shrugging its shoulders.
How am I supposed to honor these actresses with a 25 list? Maybe do 10? Nah, better make it 5, Jessica’s right. What a shame. Turning negatives into positives is not my forte, nor does it solve the magnitude of this issue. But I’m also a huge supporter of actresses of not just color, but creed, culture, and country of origin. The international talent, the terrific work from those outside the English language, excellent performances representing their native society and history. There’s no Rosario Dawson (The Lego Batman Movie) or Halle Berry (Kidnap) here, sorry. It’s no consolation for black women, but it’ll do until the mess gets here.