#ThrowbackThursday: Jennifer Garner in ‘Elektra,’ 2005

Jennifer Garner in 'Elektra,' 2005 (Ouch Press)

Jennifer Garner in ‘Elektra,’ 2005 (Ouch Press)

Full disclosure: I haven’t seen the 2005 movie “Elektra,” but per IMDB, here’s the synopsis:

Elektra the warrior survives a near-death experience, becomes an assassin-for-hire, and tries to protect her two latest targets, a single father and his young daughter, from a group of supernatural assassins.

The movie, starring Jennifer Garner in the title role, was spun off from 2003’s “Daredevil”  (which starred Garner’s eventual ex-husband Ben Affleck). “Elektra” didn’t do well at the box office: It only grossed $56M+ worldwide on a budget of $43M+.

“Elektra” would ordinarily be a footnote in the history of superhero movies, except for one thing: It’s the most recent movie starring a female superhero.

Until “Wonder Woman.”

 

Advertisements

Trends: Slaying While Pregnant

 

Beyonce's performance at the 2017 Grammy Awards (The Fader)

Beyonce’s performance at the 2017 Grammy Awards (The Fader)

It seems like almost every female celebrity is pregnant right now (and that almost all of them are pregnant with twins). But instead of lying low and taking it easy during their pregnancies, many of these women are stepping it up, and making pregnant and non-pregnant women alike look like slackers.

First case in point: Beyonce. Leave it to Queen Bey to put us all to shame. The superstar performed a set during this year’s Grammy Awards. One portion featured her leaning back in a chair perched at a very precarious angle. (I don’t know about you, but my heart was in my throat for that whole portion. And I audibly exhaled when she got off that chair.)

Beyonce had also been scheduled to perform at Coachella before withdrawing. But we can’t fault her for that, considering she’s done more while pregnant than many people do in their lives.

Serena Williams is widely acknowledged to be the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) tennis player in the world. Last month, she announced her pregnancy. When she announced the news, Williams was 20 weeks along. Someone very smart (and awesome) did the math and realized that Williams had recently played in a match while pregnant. And, as Laura Wagner at “Deadspin” put it, this wasn’t just any match:

Serena Williams won the 2017 Australian Open, her record-breaking 23rd major, without dropping a single set, while nine fucking weeks pregnant. She is the greatest of all time.

Elsewhere in entertainment, Gal Gadot has been preparing for her upcoming movie “Wonder Woman.” Last November, she shot reshoots for the movie…while also five months pregnant. And she was probably doing more than a few stunts. NBD.

It’s great that we’re seeing so many women dominate during a time in life when women traditionally have been relegated to the sidelines.

Trends: Genderless Awards Categories

MTV Movie & TV Awards nominees Daniel Kaluuya, Millie Bobby Brown, and Emma Watson (Entertainment Weekly)

MTV Movie & TV Awards nominees Daniel Kaluuya, Millie Bobby Brown, and Emma Watson (Entertainment Weekly)

Last month, MTV announced that its MTV Movie Awards would be no more. Instead, the show would now involve awards for TV, and be called the MTV Movie & TV Awards. But that wasn’t the only new thing the cable network had in store for its new awards show: Certain major categories will be gender neutral.

This new gender neutrality spans the acting categories: Best Actor in a Movie (which includes Emma Watson from “Beauty and the Beast” and Daniel Kaluuya from “Get Out”) and Best Actor in a TV Show (which includes Donald Glover from “Atlanta” and Millie Bobby Brown from “Stranger Things”). Of course, some categories have always been gender-neutral, inkling Best Kiss, Best Villian and Best Hero.

There’s clearly a sea change happening, as mainstream culture has gotten hip and woke to the nuances of gender identity. And the young generation isn’t averse to asking for what they want, particularly in terms of representation. Actor Asia Kate Dillion, known for their role on Showtime’s “Billions” as a non-binary character (and TV’s first one at that!), wrote to the Television Academy and asked them to reconsider their binary male and female categories. This was a big ask: the Television Academy governs the Emmy Awards. The Television Academy was very receptive to Dillon’s letter, and Dillon decided to submit themselves under Best Supporting Actor

If the Emmys were to do away with gendered categories, the award show would be getting back to its roots. The Emmys enacted separate categories for male and female performers in 1951, its third year.

I hope this new gender consciousness grows until it becomes so commonplace we no longer need to remark on it.

#ThrowbackThursday: “Ghostbusters,” 2016

'Ghostbusters,' 2016 (Geek)

‘Ghostbusters,’ 2016 (Geek)

2016 saw the release of the rebooted “Ghostbusters: Now With More Women!” OK, that wasn’t the actual title, but it might as well have been. The remake of the classic comedy film boasted Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones as the titular Ghostbusters. The film battled high expectations from all corners: nail-biting and hand-writing over whether (gasp!) funny women could open a movie, and unreasonable standards from people for whom the original 1984 movie stood as an unassailable classic.

Fortunately, the movie proved that people (and not just women) would turn out to see funny women in a remake. The film ranked second in its opening weekend with $46M+ and went on to rake in $229M+ worldwide.

Trends: Muslim Firsts in Popular Culture

Halima Aden covering 'CR Fashion Book' (CR Fashion Book)

Halima Aden covering ‘CR Fashion Book’ (CR Fashion Book)

Recently, Muslims in the U.S. have gained prominence in a series of firsts in mainstream culture.

Last year, Halima Aden competed in the Miss Minnesota beauty pageant. Aden wears hijab, and wore a burkini during the swimsuit portion of the event. Though she didm’t win the title, people took notice of her, especially the fashion industry. IMG Models recently signed Aden, who’s now their first hijabi model. (It’s important to note that while Aden is the first hijabi model for the company, she is not their first Muslim model.) Aden recently appeared on the cover of CR Fashionbook, where the headline cemented her one-name-only status (similar to that of Iman, who interviewed Aden for the issue).

Earlier this week, actor Mahershala Ali won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his work in “Moonlight.” This wasn’t a surprise: Ali had been winning awards at all of the awards running up the Oscars. But Ali is the first Muslim actor to win an Academy Award. He spoke about converting to Islam in his acceptance speech for male actor in a supporting role at this year’s SAG Awards, where he warned against letting the minutia of differences overtake the similarities.

Hopefully this exposure normalizes Muslims for people who may not have met one in person. I hope this is just the start of more prominent Muslims in pop culture to come.

Viola Davis Makes Record with Oscar Win

Viola Davis Oscar win, 2017 (TV Insider)

Viola Davis Oscar win, 2017 (TV Insider)

Viola Davis (a.k.a QUEEN VIOLA) won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role in “Fences.” (She also gave an excellent acceptance speech.) This wasn’t remotely a surprise, as she was CLEANING UP during awards season. This win has now ushered Davis into an upper echelon of artists that many people don’t achieve.

When she was nominated for the award, Davis started making history right out of the gate.   She became the first Black actor or actress to receive three Oscar nominations. (Her two previous nominations were for “Doubt” in 2008, and “The Help” in 2011.) This year’s Best Supporting Actress nominations was the first time three Black women were nominated, and the second time three non-white women were nominated.

With her win, Davis has hit other records. She’s now the 23rd person to win what’s called the triple crown of acting: a Tony, an Emmy, and a “competitive” (a.k.a. non-honorary) Oscar. Davis is also the first Black actor to achieve this feat, winning Tony for “King Hedley II” in 2001, and “Fences” in 2010, and an Emmy for “How to Get Away with Murder” in 2015.

This club is a rare one indeed. Davis is the first actress of her generation to achieve this honor. She even beat perennial-nominee-for-everything Meryl Streep to the punch.

Davis also has three out of the four awards required for an EGOT “grand slam:” Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony (though one could argue that Davis herself brings the G). The Grammys don’t honor acting, so the EGOT is more about versatility in the entertainment industry.

Trends: Celebrities Pregnant with Twins

Steven Yeun Instagram post (Steven Yeun)

Steven Yeun Instagram post (Steven Yeun)

Single births are so 2016. This year, it’s all about the multiples. (Births, duh.)

Seriously, this year has started off with a bang regarding celebrity birth announcements. First up, superstar/icon/QUEEN Beyonce announced that she’s pregnant with twins in an Instagram post that dropped February 1st. Naturally, the world went crazy (and that Instagram post is now the most-liked post ever). Beyonce also released photos from her pregnancy photoshoot, and later performed at the Grammys in a tribute to motherhood. As you do.

Not even two weeks later, it was confirmed that Amal Clooney (you know, George’s wife) is expecting twins. And the twins will be a boy and a girl.

There’s another couple that might be expecting twins. It’s confirmed that “The Walking Dead” actor Steven Yeun and his wife Joana Pak are expecting a child. One of Yeun’s recent Instagram posts was a series of photos of he and his pregnant wife, of which one photo features him holding up two fingers. The photo’s caption is two bee emoji.

So either they’ll also be welcoming twins this year, or Yeun is part of the Beyhive. I don’t know. We’ll find out.

It’s crazy that all these celebrities are having twins right now. No idea if any of them are through IVF and don’t want to speculate, but it’s interesting how all the pregnancies are syncing up.