Oscar-winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin has claimed that often, male actors who have won Oscars have had more difficult roles than their female counterparts, The Daily Beast reports.
In a March email to New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd that leaked as part of the Sony hack, Sorkin took issue with Dowd’s implication that studios are sitting on high-quality scripts with strong female characters and just not making the movies.
He then went on to say that males who have won the Best Actor Oscar have had more difficult roles than females who have won for Best Actress.
Sorkin said that Cate Blanchett’s Oscar-winning performance in “Blue Jasmine” was “nothing close to the degree of difficulty” of any of the male performances that were nominated that year.
The email, uncovered by The Daily Beast, continues:
That’s why year in and year out, the guy who wins the Oscar for Best Actor has a much higher bar to clear than the woman who wins Best Actress. Cate gave a terrific performance in Blue Jasmine but nothing close to the degree of difficulty for any of the five Best Actor nominees.
Daniel Day-Lewis had to give the performance he gave in Lincoln to win — Jennifer Lawrence won for Silver Linings Playbook, in which she did what a professional actress is supposed to be able to do. Colin Firth/Natalie Portman. Phil Hoffman had to transform himself into Truman Capote while Julia Roberts won for being brassy in Erin Brockovich. Sandra Bullock won for ‘The Blind Side’ and Al Pacino lost for both Godfather movies. Helen Mirren and Meryl Streep can play with the boys but there just aren’t that many tour-de-force roles out there for women.
Sorking noted the lack of strong scripts with prominent female characters is a big factor. But, as The Daily Beast points out, “it’s a bit strange to say that Blanchett’s turn in ‘Blue Jasmine’ was any less difficult to pull off then Bruce Dern’s in ‘Nebraska.'”
And Sorkin has himself been criticised for how he writes women.
Critics praised Sorkin’s “The Social Network,” but many criticised his stereotypical portrayal of women. He responded to the criticism by saying that he was “writing about a very angry and deeply misogynistic group of people” and that his film merely reflected the reality of the events surrounding the creation of Facebook.
He faced criticism again after “The Newsroom” started airing, with some saying that the female characters served mostly to prop up their male counterparts in the show.
Sorkin blasted media coverage of the massive Sony hack, which saw mounds of data from Sony Pictures Entertainment dumped online by hackers calling themselves the Guardians of Peace. Sorkin wrote an op-ed in The New York Times that the media was doing exactly what the hackers wanted by publishing information included in the hack.
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