George Clooney and Viola Davis Talk About Female Leads in Hollywood

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Viola Davis and George Clooney in Entertainment Weekly

In the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly, George Clooney and Viola Davis share the spotlight, dishing on all things Hollywood, including a woman’s ability to drive box-office sales.

“There’s this strange thing that’s happened over the last 25 or 30 years where there’s this decision being made that women aren’t able to carry the box office,” said Clooney. “Now, ‘Bridesmaids’ has proved that to be bullsh*t, and ‘The Help’ has proven it to be bullsh*t. But it’s much harder to get a film with a woman lead made. When a man hits 40 is when roles just begin to happen. And for women, it doesn’t happen. I find that to be a very concerning issue.”

Davis agreed, and added another bone of contention: the lack of black actresses at awards shows like the Oscars. “Only one black actress in history has been back [at the Oscars] more than once, and that’s Whoopi Goldberg,” she said. “But that’s only because there aren’t a lot of roles out there that are going to bring you back. Say if you have two great roles for an African-American actress in a year — one actress can cover it. So if there’s five really good black actresses out there, and that one actress gets it all, then the other four can sit for the next three years.”

Viola Davis and George Clooney have Oscar nominations for their performances in “The Help” and “The Descendants,” respectively. Do you agree with their assessments on awards shows and Hollywood at large? Is the box-office success of movies like “The Help” and “Bridesmaids” proof that consumers’ movie preferences are changing?

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