sally field

Two time Oscar winner Sally Field credits black men with helping white women get more roles in Hollywood, particularly as the women cross the age threshold of their mid-30s.

Field, 69, made the comments to The Gaurdian on the heels of the talk about diversity in Hollywood, and particularly in the Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences, which nominates the categories for the Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars. Field, who won Oscars for her roles in Norma Ray and Places in the Heart, says the success that women have enjoyed is, in part, a result of black men speaking out against system that often fails to include people of color.

According to TheGuardian:

Academy Award-winning actor Sally Field has claimed the prominence of African American men in the current push for greater diversity in Hollywood is the only reason women are finally getting heard by studios.

High-profile stars from Liv Tyler to Daryl Hannah have long complained that opportunities for female actors begin to dry up once they reach their mid-30s. Some, such as Oscar-winner Reese Witherspoon, have carved out opportunities for themselves by starting their own production companies. But interviewed for BuzzFeed, Field revealed such options were not open to her in the 1980s.

“It was extremely difficult to get really interesting, diverse projects set up,” said Field, who launched Fogwood Films in 1984, alongside the high-profile Hollywood producer Laura Ziskin, but found little success. “We were beating on the doors. But in those days, the Sundance film festival hadn’t happened like it is, independent film wasn’t available … there wasn’t the same kind of drumbeat to find a way to get a film made that’s so unique.”

“There’s a huge conversation about diversity happening across the boards – which is what it always should have been – that has to do with colour and race and gender preferences and men and women,” she said. “I think perhaps the fact it’s not just women now, that there’s others involved … I have to say, honestly, the fact men are involved. Thank God for African American men. You go, boys! We’re right behind you.

Idris Elba, star of the critically-acclaimed "Beast of No Nation."

Idris Elba, star of the critically-acclaimed “Beast of No Nation.”

“Because the women would still be shut out. It’s sad but true. If it were just Jen Lawrence and Amy Schumer – bless their beautiful, talented hearts – they would be shut out. I know it. It would be, ‘Oh, poor little rich girl.’ You know? So I’m standing right behind Beasts of No Nation. I’m with them. Maybe that’s because of my generation of women, who kind of went, ‘I already feel beat up, so I am accepting it.’ I [didn’t] head right towards them and say, ‘Ef you and the horse you rode in on.’ Which, you know, might not have been a bad idea.”

 

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