Even with the advancements of women’s achievements in films in recent years, women as a whole are still not as well represented as men in the media. But the Women Film Critics Circle (WFCC), the first national American association of women critics, supports the accurate representation of women in media. The group voted on the best and worst representations of both women and men in movies released this year. It honored the strengths of such films as ‘Hidden Figures’ and ’13,’ while also pointing out the shame of such movies as ‘Neighbors 2’ and ‘Dirty Grandpa.’ The announcement of WFCC’s 2O16 awards for the best movies this year by and about women was made during the recording of its annual awards ceremony yesterday in New York City.
WFCC is an association of 80 women film critics and scholars from around the country and internationally, who are involved in print, radio, online and TV broadcast media. Launched in 2004, WFCC became the first women critics’ organization in the United States, in the belief that women’s perspectives and voices in film criticism need to be recognized fully. WFCC also prides itself on being the most culturally and racially diverse critics group in the country by far, and best reflecting the diversity of movie audiences.
The complete list of winners honored by the WFCC in 2016 is listed below:
Best Movie About Women:
Best Movie by a Woman:
Ava Duvernay, Director of ’13th’
Best Woman Storyteller [Screenwriting Award]:
’13th,’ Ava DuVernay
Natalie Portman, ‘Jackie’
Casey Affleck, ‘Manchester by the Sea’
Best Young Actress:
Hailee Steinfeld, ‘The Edge Of Seventeen’
Best Comedic Actress:
Kate McKinnon, ‘Ghostbusters’
Best Foreign Film by or About Women:
Best Documentary by or About Women:
Best Female Images in a Movie:
Worst Female Images in a Movie:
Best Male Images in a Movie:
Worst Male Images in a Movie:
Women’s Work/Best Ensemble:
Special Mention Awards:
Courage In Filmmaking:
Ava DuVernay, ’13th’
Courage In Acting [Taking on unconventional roles that radically redefine the images of women on screen]:
Rebecca Hall, ‘Christine’
*Adrienne Shelly Award: For a film that most passionately opposes violence against women:
*Josephine Baker Award: For best expressing the woman of color experience in America:
*Karen Morley Award: For best exemplifying a woman’s place in history or society, and a courageous search for identity:
*The Invisible Woman Award: [Performance by a woman whose exceptional impact on the film dramatically, socially or historically, has been ignored]
The women of ‘Hidden Figures’
Best Screen Couple:
Best Female Action Hero:
The women of ‘Ghostbusters’
Mommie Dearest Worst Screen Mom of the Year Award:
Anne Sutton, ‘Nocturnal Animals’
Best Line In A Movie:
“I believe the characters we read on the page become more real than the men who stand beside us.” – ‘Jackie’
Acting and Activism Award:
Emma Watson: UN Goodwill Ambassador, tells the UN General Assembly that universities need to be a safe space against campus sexual and racial assault, for women and people of color.
Lifetime Achievement Award:
Annette Bening: For taking on roles that go against the grain of conventional female ‘objective’ beauty.
Best Equality Of The Sexes:
Best Animated Female:
Best Family Film:
‘Queen Of Katwe’
WFCC Hall of Shame:
Women Dating Their Rapists in Movies:
**Adrienne Shelly Award: Adrienne Shelly was a promising actress and filmmaker who was brutally strangled in her apartment in 2006 at the age of forty by a construction worker in the building, after she complained about noise. Her killer tried to cover up his crime by hanging her from a shower rack in her bathroom, to make it look like a suicide. He later confessed that he was having a “bad day.” Shelly, who left behind a baby daughter, had just completed her film ‘Waitress,’ which she also starred in, and which was honored at Sundance after her death.
**Josephine Baker Award: The daughter of a laundress and a musician, Baker overcame being born black, female and poor, and marriage at age fifteen, to become an internationally acclaimed legendary performer, starring in the films ‘Princess Tam Tam,’ ‘Moulin Rouge’ and ‘Zou Zou.’ She also survived the race riots in East St. Louis, Illinois as a child, and later expatriated to France to escape US racism. After participating heroically in the underground French Resistance during WWII, Baker returned to the US where she was a crusader for racial equality. Her activism led to attacks against her by reporter Walter Winchell who denounced her as a communist, leading her to wage a battle against him. Baker was instrumental in ending segregation in many theaters and clubs, where she refused to perform unless integration was implemented.
**Karen Morley Award: Karen Morley was a promising Hollywood star in the 1930s, in such films as ‘Mata Hari; and ‘Our Daily Bread.’ She was driven out of Hollywood for her leftist political convictions by the Blacklist and for refusing to testify against other actors, while Robert Taylor and Sterling Hayden were informants against her. And also for daring to have a child and become a mother, unacceptable for female stars in those days. Morley maintained her militant political activism for the rest of her life, running for Lieutenant Governor on the American Labor Party ticket in 1954. She passed away in 2003, unrepentant to the end, at the age of 93.
Written by: Karen Benardello