My 2008 women-in-entertainment resolutions

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A couple of nights ago at midnight,
I watched fireworks from a friend’s roof, kissed my girlfriend and thought
about the career and personal changes I could make in the new year.
Then I decided self-improvement was overrated, and it would
be more fun and less work to make resolutions for others. I suspected
that my girlfriend wouldn’t let me make them for her, so I turned my
attention to the powers-that-be in Hollywood and on Broadway. Here’s
what I resolve they do for women in entertainment in 2008.

Movies

I resolve that the Academy
Awards will be less of a celebration of male accomplishment, and more
of a recognition of the breadth of accomplishment in Hollywood. Last
year, it was great that Ellen DeGeneres hosted the show, but the dearth of female
nominees
in the
directing, writing and producing categories was a wee bit depressing.
So I resolve that the Academy nominate at least two women for Best Director. If they need my help, I’ll make suggestions: Kasi Lemmons
(Talk to Me)

and Sarah Polley (Away From Her).

And Kasi Lemmons should win
because Talk to Me was amazing.

Although directors are valued
much more highly than writers in Hollywood, I resolve that women also
get better representation in the writing categories. At the very least,
I want to see Diablo Cody get a nod — and probably a win — for Juno.

And speaking of Juno, Ellen Page deserves a Best Actress nod, and Jennifer Garner arguably deserves a Best Supporting
Actress nod for her wonderfully controlled performance.

The Golden Globe nominations (which are often seen as a predictor
of Academy Award nominations) provide a little hope on the writing front. But they also suggest that, once again, only male directors will be recognized.
Alas. But I’m keeping the faith. And, of course, my projected resolutions
are not limited to recognition for last year’s work. In 2008, I resolve
that movie executives will greenlight a good dozen movies written or
scheduled to be directed by talented women.

Television

I resolve that there will be
more lesbians. And not just on The L Word.

(And I resolve that The
L Word
will not be unduly stupid. I realize it’s too much to ask
to expect Jenny to disappear, but I’m vehemently resolving that she
won’t kill any dogs this season.)

But back to regular television … I
don’t think it’s too much to ask to want to see at least one regularly
appearing lesbian or bisexual character on a primetime network show.
And Cashmere Mafia has the potential to be a good start
but, frankly, I don’t want to settle for one. I resolve that there will
be four. (Of course, the appearance of any new lesbian characters depends
on the eventual end of the WGA strike. For good measure, I resolve that
the writers will soon get a good contract.)

Additionally, I resolve that
the trend of “over 40 and fabulous” women on television will continue
and expand.

Theater

Finally, there’s theater. First,
I resolve that some good, new, funny musicals that are neither
self-referential nor based on an ’80s or ’90s movie will be produced.
(Both trends are getting old.) And some of these musicals will
focus on women — but not necessarily tweens.

I resolve that women will make
their presence felt more on the creative front. The writer-director
power balance is a little different on Broadway than it is in Hollywood.
(There’s a classic joke about the Hollywood casting couch that I’ll
share in Match Game format: Dumb Dora was so dumb ["How
dumb was she?"], she BLANKED the writer.) On Broadway, however, the
writer matters. (On the Internet Movie Database site, the director gets the top credit.
On the Internet
Broadway Database
site,
director shows up somewhere below the writers.)

This is not to underestimate
the importance of the director, but think about The Producers.

It’s associated completely with Mel Brooks, who wrote the book
and lyrics and composed the music. Non-theater-geeks generally don’t
know that Susan
Stroman

directed it.

Stroman, along with Julie Taymor and Kathleen Marshall,

are three of the most bankable directors (and choreographers) in musical
theater, and I don’t mean to minimize their accomplishments.

But I want to see more women
getting the top creative credits. Therefore, I resolve that in 2008,
there will be a breakout female music-lyrics team that’s as talented,
clever and funny as Alan Menken and the late Howard Ashman.
(The only female lyricist I can name off the top of my head is Lynn Ahrens. And I cannot name a female composer
— although I know they exist.)

So there you have it. This
is what I want to see happen with women in entertainment in 2008. Oh,
and more generally, I resolve that young women will get famous for their
talent, rather than for publicly humiliating themselves. Or for going to
prison. Or for making a sex tape. Or for getting pregnant. And I resolve that
women with normal body sizes will not get called fat publicly. And I
resolve that women will make as much money as men for doing the same
work. And I resolve that globally influential women will not get assassinated.
But I digress.

What did I miss? What would
you resolve?

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