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Take a second to name your top-10 favorite female directors working today. Chances are you're having trouble getting to double digits, which, sadly, is understandable. It's something Helen Mirren
isn't afraid to point out, even during a fancy star-studded celebration of movie industry.
It started with Sam Mendes' (Skyfall, American Beauty
) acceptance speech after being honored with the Inspiration Award at the Empire Awards in London on Sunday. Mendes took the stage to pay tribute to the other directors who inspired him to work behind the camera, rattling off names like Paul Thomas Anderson, Ingmar Bergman, Francois Truffaut, and Martin Scorsese. Notice anything odd about Mendes' list? Mirren certainly did.
"It was great to hear Sam's list of moments that inspired him to the movies. I did, however, note that there was not one woman's name there behind the camera," Mirren said upon accepting her Legend Award.
"Nothing against Sam — they were great, great moments he chose," Mirren politely explained. "And it is true: When I first came into the film industry, it was a really bloke-y world. It was like walking to the locker room of a football club or something. A film set was a very, very masculine place."
Mirren then closed with some inspiring words of her own: "Nowadays, that's really changed, and it's fantastic to see women and girls in the lighting department, in cinematography, in the sound department, obviously in producing, in writing. And I just hope, I pray — I know — that in five or 10 years' time, when the next Sam gets up and makes his — or hopefully her — speech, there will be two or three or four or five women's names there."