Welcome to our eighth celebration of Women Writers Week at RogerEbert.com during Women's History Month. I am pleased that our Contributing Editor, Nell Minow, who is leading this effort, has chosen to cast an even wider net to bring you a week of reviews and articles written by women writers who tell tales of swashbuckling women (Laura Boyes); why we love women villains (Sherin Nicole); when women invented television (an excerpt on Betty White from Jennifer Armstrong's book); murderous teen girls (Gabrielle Moss); and a novel about a single woman journalist who unabashedly chooses her career over romance (Tamron Hall's As The Wicked Watched). In addition, we will present articles about groundbreaking women editors and women directors who made a difference. Regarding the women editors, I wonder if you will be as surprised as I was to learn the history of how and why women editors were able to secure employment in the motion picture industry at a time when women were being shut out of other positions. I found Beth Accomando's article "Women Film Editors: Shedding the Cloak of Invisibility" particularly eye-opening.
Susan Wloszczyna writes about the advancement of female directors at the Oscars. And speaking of advancement, four out of the five directors nominated for Best Director at the 2022 (Independent) Spirit Awards were women, with Maggie Gyllenhaal taking home the prize for "The Lost Daughter." The other women directors nominated were Janicza Bravo for "Zola," Lauren Hadaway for "The Novice," and Ninja Thyberg for "Pleasure." Mike Mills was the sole male director nominated for his film "C'mon C'mon." While this represents progress, overall Dr. Stacy L. Smith of USC's Annenberg Inclusion Initiative says that more work needs to be done, particularly when looking at the sparse number of Black and women directors of color. "Inclusion happens when women are given the keys to the kingdom."
While we honor women's writing and contributions to the film and television industry all year long, there is still a freshness in reading the views of a variety of women curated especially for this week. For instance, men write about Samuel L. Jackson one way, and I am just as interested in reading what Nandini Balial has to say about his performance in Walter Moseley's "The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey." It was intentional to have "The Batman" reviewed by Christy Lemire and to have an article about the Batman animated series written by Jessica Ritchey. We all love Kirsten Dunst, but what new insight will Justine Smith bring to an appreciation of her? And who else but Laura Emerick would take the time to suss out the importance of "forgotten ingenue" Isabel Jewell? So come back daily to RogerEbert.com to read all of these and more.
I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge and thank Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett (Dr. Kizzy), among other scientists and doctors who helped develop the mRNA vaccine and therapeutic monoclonal antibodies. We are grateful to see the world once again opening up as the number of deaths and hospitalizations from COVID recedes with the administration of these vaccines and therapeutics.
My prayers go out to the brave women of Ukraine who are standing up to stop the devastation and aggression against their homeland and its citizens. May we see an end to these atrocities soon.