Elizabeth Banks called out one of Hollywood’s most beloved directors by name last night, putting Steven Spielberg on blast for making movies that almost overwhelmingly focus on men. “I went to Indiana Jones and Jaws and every movie Steven Spielberg ever made,” Banks said last night at the Women in Film Crystal + Lucy Awards, where she was receiving an honor for excellence in feature directing. “And by the way, he’s never made a movie with a female lead. Sorry, Steven. I don’t mean to call your ass out, but it’s true.”
As people have pointed out, Banks’ comment wasn’t 100 percent accurate; Goldie Hawn had top-billing on 1974’s Sugarland Express, young Ruby Barnhill was technically the lead on last year’s The BFG, and Whoopi Goldberg is inarguably the star of The Color Purple. But that’s still only three films across Spielberg’s legendary career, and the basic gist of the point still stands. (Juliette Binoche made similar comments last year, noting that she’d once confronted both Spielberg and Martin Scorsese for the overwhelming maleness of their films, and turned down a role in Spielberg’s Jurassic Park for similar reasons.)
Banks also offered up her advice to people hoping to see more women-directed movies: “Buy a fucking ticket to a movie with a woman, take them, give them the experience of seeing amazing women on film.” She underlined the point that one of the reasons she was even up on the podium to receive the award in the first place was because her sole directorial effort—Pitch Perfect 2—made a ton of money, opening the door for her to direct something else. “I’m really glad to be up here and getting an award,” she said, “But it’s really about expanding the roles of women in this industry.”
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