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by Matthew Hammett Knott
December 20, 2012 11:33 AM
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Heroines of Cinema: An A-Z of Women in Film in 2012

H is for Hunger Games

It was the Twilight saga that proved the spending power of teenage girls at the multiplex, but Bella Swan was no match for "The Hunger Games"' action heroine Katniss Evergreen. Kicking off the franchise with a $686 million worldwide gross, Jennifer Lawrence announced her star potential and claim to the title of "the next Julia Roberts", which were later cemented by her acclaimed turn in "Silver Linings Playbook".

I is for Interview Bias
Helen Hunt may have suffered from the double standard on "The Sessions" but she wasn't going to stand for it during a actress roundtable for the Hollywood Reporter with two male moderators. Mid-interview, she called them out for their clearly sexist line of questioning - which incorporated nudity, facing your fears and the paparazzi - comparing it to Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, when "they were asking Obama about foreign policy and they were asking her, "How do you stay healthy on the road?". When her fellow actresses agreed, the interviewers quickly changed their tune.

READ MORE: Heroines of Cinema: The Life Cycle of an Actress

J is for Jennifer Lee
Jennifer Lee is not the first female director of a Disney film (step forward Jun Falkenstein, who helmed "The Tigger Movie" aged 29) but in a year when Brenda Chapman's saga with "Brave" drew some rather mixed publicity to the issue, it was cheering to see Lee - a co-writer on this year's hit "Wreck It Ralph" - announced as co-director of Disney's forthcoming "Frozen".

K is for Kristen Stewart
Twenty two-year old Stewart confirmed all the media's worst practices earlier this year when her personal life saw her subjected to attention and abuse no man would have to face in her position. So let's focus on the positives, namely her box office prowess - with starring roles in "Snow White and the Huntsman" and "Breaking Dawn", her films grossed nearly $1.2 billion in total, with even the terminally insipid Bella demonstrating some heroics in the last chapter of the Twilight saga.

David and Jackie Siegel in 'The Queen of Versailles'
L is for Lauren Greenfield

"The Queen of Versailles" was one of the year's biggest documentary hits, chronicling the hubris of property magnate David Siegel's attempt to build the largest private home in America. Director Lauren Greenfield won Sundance's documentary directing award, which coupled with Ava DuVernay's win made it a good year for female directors at the festival. Next year looks to be even better, with eight women among the sixteen directors in the Dramatic Competition.

M is for Marion Cotillard
Cotillard has used her 2007 Oscar win as a springboard for Hollywood success like no other recent victor, but it was a French language performance in Jacques Audiard's "Rust and Bone" that won her a raft of critical praise this year. A likely second Oscar nomination could make history, with her becoming the first ever actor to win for more than one foreign-language performance.

N is for Nicole Kidman
All the headlines surrounding Kidman's turn in Lee Daniels' "The Paperboy" were over a somewhat attention-grabbing act performed on Zac Efron, but Kidman could be in line for a golden shower of her own if her recent awards momentum is anything to go by - her no-holds-barred performance has been recognised against the odds with Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globe nominations.

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  • Barbara Everett Heintz | December 31, 2012 4:56 AMReply

    Why is the over 60 yrs. of my lifetime have I never seen a story about: Southern Appalachia;s diasphora, the loss of agrarian farmers who were satisfied with independence and subsistence, but whose way of life was torn away from them, (Us), in the 20th century, when everyone knows about the dust bowl. We are the, "Hillbillies, " Bible Thumpers," and, "Crackers," and the white hicks in rust belt cities. My Hollywood winning 2012 festival book - First in its division, and Hon Mention in SF book festival 2012 needs a film reader who gives one damn about the deliverance of women and children who suffer the shards of our broken lives this day. Please, look at my book, "Pinkhoneysuckle," available on Amazon, Kindle Ready, and if you are not hooked by Chpt 2--6; I did not do my job. In Hollywood, I was advised to take my book to Sundance. My Santa Monica son, heading up the new film division of Amazon, the legal department and contracts said I need to make myself Known; How? But if I can get a person willing to risk taking my, "Woman's - Deliverance - Book," and turning it in to film; Then Amazon may want in, but my Harvard Law grad son is making me go the hard way for Amazon to be fair. Please, someone read, "Pinkhoneysuckle," and be prepared to face new material, truth, USA's 3rd world, and the bad things the Rust belt brought back to leave women and children more destitude. "Pinkhoneysuckle," By Barbara Everett Heintz, Amazon. I thank you so much. Barb Heintz

  • MHK | December 21, 2012 9:00 AMReply

    Just realised I forgot all about Haifaa Al-Mansour and "Wadjda" - great film, great director, great story. Consider it included!