How Sandra Bullock Is Winning For Women In Film

Sandra Bullock

Having leading women in Hollywood is a big deal. Why? Because in our celebrity obsessed culture, if you can’t reinvent the wheel, then at least modify it so that it is most effective for what we need. Meaning, if kids these days don’t want to look at everyday people in society as their role models, then we at least need to focus on the positive and inspiring role models in entertainment and media so that we aren’t doing the next generation a disservice.

Columnist Melissa Silverstein from just posted an article about how Sandra Bullock is single handedly winning for women in film in 2013!

During the summer, her film Heat was the only movie that featured a female lead, well two actually. According to Melissa, most of the films that will be taken into consideration for the 2014 Academy Awards feature male leads: Captain Philips, Lee Daniels’ The Butler, and 12 Years A Slave all feature male hero leads. Hmmm, something is wrong with that picture!

Enter Sandy’s latest blockbuster film Gravity, co-starring George Clooney, (yes that’s right, he’s ‘co’ to her ‘star’) which all of a sudden changes the equilibrium and offers us a female lead who is an astronaut of all things! She’s not the sexy sidekick, the damsel in distress, the wife, the mistress etc etc. She is a bonafide superhero and showing millions of young moviegoers that being a smart cookie is a good thing!

We see Sandra bullock, a rookie astronaut who goes into space to work on the Hubble telescope with a type of technology that she created, another win for women: they can invent and create things, and now in Hollywood too! While she is in space things go wrong and she spends the majority of the film floating in the heavens figuring out a way to get back to earth.

If women make up more than half the population and half of the movie-goers in the United States, shouldn’t it be a no-brainer that we see more varied female lead characters on the big screen? You’d think so, but it’s not as easy, or progressive, in liberaltown Hollywood as you might think.

Director and writer Alfonso Cuaron told Comic-Con audiences in July that the studio wanted the film to have a male lead!

“When I finished the script, there were voices that were saying, ‘well, we should change it to a male lead.’ Obviously they were not powerful enough voices, because we got away with it. But the sad thing is that there is still that tendency.”

Not only did he get away with it, but a female lead who wore no makeup for the majority of a big screen feature? How dare he! On the same panel Sandra Bullock had some thoughts of her own, but clearly understands that this is a money-making business at the end of the day.

“The elephant in the room is that roles or women haven’t been as vast and many as the men have. But I do feel that there is a definite shift that has happened. In the end it’s about making money, and if studios see that a female can bring in audiences, they’re going to make movies with that person, and hopefully that will become the norm.”

Melissa Silverstein herself says this is a win for women in film on all accounts, because hopefully it will be a shining beacon to all the studio execs to cast more females as leads.

“It is not a movie that can be dismissed as “girly” or as a “chick flick” as so many other movies that star women are no matter what their genre.  What makes this film unique and special is that it is about a strong character who just happens to be a woman.  About time.”

In it’s opening weekend, Gravity grossed over $55 million, which makes it the biggest October opening weekend in HISTORY!

Ok Hollywood peeps, do you even need any more proof that women wanna see more strong female characters? Didn’t think so…

Sandra Bullock in Gravity



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