- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 15, 2017

Actress Elizabeth Banks spoke about the importance of women in Hollywood while accepting the Women in Film Crystal Award, taking a moment out of her speech to “call out” Steven Spielberg for not directing more movies with female leads.

“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,” Ms. Banks told a crowd in Los Angeles Tuesday night. “Sorry, Steven. I don’t mean to call your a— out, but it’s true.”

Deadline reported that someone in the audience yelled out, “The Color Purple,” to which Ms. Banks responded: “OK, ‘The Color Purple,’ OK, I’m wrong. Ummmmm … he directed?”

After someone in the crowd yelled “no,” Ms. Banks reportedly replied, “Oh, so I’m right still.”

“The Color Purple” was indeed directed by Mr. Spielberg. Business Insider pointed out Thursday that of Mr. Spielberg’s 30 feature films, three have starred women, including Goldie Hawn in “The Sugarland Express,” Whoopi Goldberg in “The Color Purple,” and 12-year-old Ruby Barnhill in “The BFG.” A fourth film with a female role, Meryl Streep in “The Papers,” is due in theaters next year.

Ms. Banks, a mother of two boys, went on to tell the audience that men must play a significant role in “presenting strong, independent women” on the big screen.

“I’m the mother of two boys … and their favorite movie for like two and a half years was ‘Frozen,’ ” she said, according to Deadline. “I am so proud that I get to raise my two boys to love women. And I’m so proud that I get to present an example to them of a working mom who really loves what she does. And I take the responsibility very seriously. In this room, we are creating culture. We are sending messages out to the world. Those messages matter. And presenting strong, independent women who have agency in TV and film is really important, not just in this room and not just in our culture but in the global culture … and co-opting men and boys into that process is the only way that progress is going to happen.”

She then thanked her husband for helping shape their two boys into “great little feminists.”

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