Tag Archives: Tangerine

Has It Really Been A Great Year for Female Film Characters?

Although we’ve seen many male-led movies such as The Martian, The Revenant and The Big Short garner a lot of attention, many critics say the past year was good for fans of films with female characters too.

They point to films like Carol, Room and Mad Max: Fury Road as prime examples of films where the women were the stars of the show, and of media where leading ladies kicked ass first, taking names later in their own way.

Some critics argue that it hasn’t just been a great year for female characters, numbers wise, but in how they were presented as well.

The characters in these films, including Inside Out and Grandma, don’t necessarily fit into the typical ‘strong female character’ mould either, as they’re flawed and messy and imperfect in the same way that actual, real-life women are.

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But does that mean that we’re in a new era of movie-making, where women get to take the lead in more pictures, and are written in ways that won’t make us want to throw the nearest piece of pottery?

Not necessarily.

We may have made some real strides in terms of both numbers and the actual depictions of these female characters, but the work is far from over.

For example, although we are quick to praise the diversity of movies like Grandma, Freeheld and Carol for starring lesbian characters, it‘s also important to consider that these three movies, like many of the others being praised for positive representation of women, star white women. (All three films were also massively snubbed at the Oscars, with misogyny being blamed).


Also important to note is how the 2016 Oscars featured no nominees of colour in any of its acting categories, sparking a revival of the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag.

While this is incredibly frustrating, it’s both an ugly symptom of the Academy’s massively lopsided voting pool and of Hollywood itself and it was massively disappointing to see films like Tangerine (a movie about two trans women of colour) get shut out.

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It’s also worth noting that one film that has been praised for its black female ‘heroine’ character, Chi-Raq, has also been criticised for its own misogyny, as it involves ending gun violence via the means of women withholding sex.

Straight Outta Compton, another movie starring people of colour that many felt should have been nominated by the Academy, also overlooked the violent acts committed by Dr. Dre against women.

Whether we will see the trend of female-led films (hopefully with more diversity) continue into 2016 and beyond is unclear.

Although Hollywood blockbusters make far more at the box office when starring female characters, who’s to say that Hollywood will pay attention when it’s been ignoring that factoid for years?

Additionally, with so few female film-makers holding Hollywood’s top jobs, decisions of these female-focused films are largely in the hands of men.

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Tangerine’s Leading Ladies Could Become First Trans Actresses Nominated for Oscars

According to GLAAD’s 2015 Studio Responsibility Index, which looks at the LGBT diversity of films released in the previous year, just 20 of the 114 releases from major studios GLAAD surveyed included any LGBT characters. 65% of the inclusive films starred gay male characters and none of those inclusive titles featured transgender characters.

Things have gotten a little better with 2015’s movie releases though snf one film garnering a lot of critical acclaim is Tangerine.

Tangerine has made headlines not just because the entire movie was shot almost entirely on an iPhone but also because it’s a film about two trans sex workers (played by two trans women of colour) as they set off to go and locate their pimp on Christmas Eve.

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Tangerine has already scooped up several accolades, including the Audience Award and the Breakthrough Actor (Mya Taylor, one of the films leads) at the Gotham Independent Film Awards.

But now the film is going one further as Magnolia Pictures, the distributor that picked up the film earlier this year, has now launched a campaign to get Taylor and Kitana Kiki Rodriguez (Tangerine’s other star) nominated for Academy Awards.

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Magnolia hopes to get Taylor and Rodriguez nominated in the Lead Actress and Supporting Actress categories and while it’s unclear exactly how successful the campaign is going so far, it does have some high profile supporters.

Recently, during a screening of the film to Oscar voters, Orange is the New Black’s Laverne Cox showed up to say that

I often imagine what it would be like for trans people all over this country and world if a trans woman is nominated for an Academy Award. You have a chance to make that happen.”

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Meanwhile, Mark Duplass (of the Duplass Brothers, who are producing the film) recently said that “the TV Academy has embraced what’s happening in the trans movement with Transparent and Orange is the New Black. The film Academy is a little behind on that front.”

Nominations for the Academy Awards will be officially revealed on January 14, 2016.