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Elizabeth Banks' spirited message to Steven Spielberg wasn't accurate, but it's important


Image: Photo by Chance Yeh/FilmMagic; Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Elizabeth Banks delivered a fiery message to the Women in Film Crystal + Lucy Awards audience on  Tuesday night about, well, women in film. 

While accepting the Crystal Award, Banks took the opportunity to call out directors, including Steven Spielberg, in a move that somewhat backfired despite her intentions.   

“I went to Indiana Jones and Jaws and every movie Steven Spielberg ever made, and by the way, he’s never made a movie with a female lead,” she told the audience, according to The Wrap. “Sorry, Steven. I don’t mean to call your ass out but it’s true.” 

But, it’s not exactly true. Spielberg directed the critically acclaimed and successful film The Color Purple in 1985 which did have a female lead, and as Vulture reported, Goldie Hawn starred in the director’s 1974 film The Sugarland Express, and in 2016 he released fantasy film The BFG. 

Reports suggested someone reacted in the audience reminding the actress of The Color Purple, and she “moved on”—a move that triggered uproar on Twitter for her lack of inclusion. 

Despite her error, of the countless feature films he’s made over decades, that’s barely a handful of female leads. Banks’ comments are still important industry-wide, and because of his standing in Hollywood, Spielberg is a great measuring stick to illustrate her point.

“Buy a fucking ticket to a movie with a woman, take them, give them the experience of seeing amazing women on film,” Banks reportedly said.  “I directed one movie. I’m really glad to be up here and getting an award, but it’s really about expanding the roles of women in this industry.” 

There were a record number of women leads in 2016, and that, combined with the incredible reception from Wonder Women, hopefully means that Hollywood will finally get the message.

 

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