On Sunday evening, Helen Mirren who has always been wonderfully outspoken in calling out sexism in Hollywood, used the occasion of being awarded the Legend award from Empire magazine to highlight the lack of women directors in the business.
The press have said that Mirren called Sam Mendes sexist because he did not mention any women in his acceptance speech for winning the best director award for Skyfall. Not true if you watch the speech. What she did notice was that Mendes in speech listed the directors who have inspired his work and not one of them was a woman.
So she called him on it. Not because it was sexist, but because it was the norm. She used that moment to discuss how “blokey” Hollywood was when she began working and how she has seen the opportunities increase for women since then. But what she did say was that things have not come far enough — especially in the area of women directors.
Here’s the quote:
It was great to hear Sam [Mendes’] list of moments that inspired him… I did however note there was not one woman’s name there, behind the camera,” said Mirren, to cheers from the audience. “Nothing against Sam … I hope, I pray, I know in five or 10 years, when the next Sam gets up and make his or hopefully her speech … there will be 2 or 3 or 4 women’s names there … Go girls!
What is interesting here is how quickly everyone jumped on the bandwagon that Helen Mirren was dissing Sam Mendes. To me, she was dissing the industry that only provides male role models for all of us to be inspired by.
Watch her full speech below.