Telluride: Meryl Streep Says "Expose" About Gender Inequality in Hollywood Is Coming From New York Times Magazine

Meryl Streep Suffragette - P
Focus Features

Accompanying Suffragette, the new film about the early days of the women's rights movement in Great Britain, to Telluride, Meryl Streep used the occasion to ask a provocative question and to give Hollywood a heads-up that The New York Times' Maureen Dowd is currently working on an exposé about gender equality in the film industry.

Speaking during a Saturday morning Q&A moderated by KPCC's John Horn, Streep, who appears in the film as British feminist Emmeline Pankhurst, asked, "They [young female filmmakers today] do exist, they graduate [from top film schools], they're good — and then they don't get hired. Why?" She added, "Maureen Dowd is writing a great big exposé about this question in The New York Times Magazine, coming up soon."

Suffragette, a long-gestating film about the peaceful-turned-violent struggle of British women to win the right to vote around the turn of the 20th century, had its first-anywhere screening at the Telluride Film Festival on Friday night and its second screening on Saturday morning. The second screening elicited tears from many and, after the postscreening introduction of several people associated with it — writer Abi Morgan, director Sarah Gavron and supporting actress Streep — a standing ovation. "This story has taken over 100 years to tell," said Gavron. "I've worked on it for 10 years."
Carey Mulligan, who leads Suffragette's ensemble — which also includes Helena Bonham Carter, Romola Garai, Anne-Marie Duff, Natalie Press, Ben Whishaw and Brendan Gleeson — couldn't be in attendance because she's in the latter stages of pregnancy. So Streep — who makes a blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameo in the film, but is a fierce feminist who has been vocal in the fight for gender inequality in Hollywood — filled in at Q&As and also was feted on Friday night by makeup artist Bobbi Brown at a soiree that drew many other boldfaced-names here at the festival.

While most would certainly support the film's message and the idea of gender equality, it is less certain that the Academy, which has had its own struggles with gender inequality, will throw its arms around the film. Strong films about social movements are hard to portray well on screen, since most films revolve around an individual, and yet few individuals actually have a hand in every important facet of a movement, leading filmmakers to resort to cliche or overstatement. My suspicion is that Academy members will receive Suffragette like other recent British period piece social dramas, such as 2010's Made in Dagenham and 2014's Pride: with applause for having been made, but no major awards recognition (with the possible exception of some support for Mulligan).