At The London Film Festival, The Ladies Have It
Female filmmakers swept the BFI London Film Festival Awards last night, with four directors winning in three of the evening’s categories before actress Cate Blanchett was honored with a British Film Institute Fellowship for her accomplishments throughout her career.
London Fest may have not intentionally adopted the theme of celebrating women, but the awards were certainly about the ladies. Granted, the film festival had already gotten off to an interesting start by opening with the premiere of the much-scrutinized film Suffragette, where an organized protest by Sisters Uncut against domestic violence occurred on the red carpet.
In an opening speech, BFI chairman Greg Dyke and festival director Clare Stewart pointedly highlighted the list of female directors nominated for their respective awards before it came time to hand them out.
Jennifer Peedom won the Grierson Award for best documentary for her docufilm Sherpa, while Shai Heredia and Shumona Goel won best short film for An Old Dog’s Diary. And the biggest upset of the night, according to critics? Writer-director Athina Rachel Tsangari won for her film Chevalier over her fellow male nominees. While one male filmmaker was also honored at the awards, it was for a female-led film.
In her acceptance speech for her BFI Fellowship, Cate Blanchett summed up the overall mood of the night pretty perfectly. After being cast in Elizabeth in 1997, she recounted that at the time her husband had made a joke that her career would likely only have a five-year lifespan. Her response now?
“F— you, darling. I’m still here.”
If these awards last night proved anything, it’s exactly that. Women are here to stay in Hollywood, and they’re not going anywhere.
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