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Women to take spotlight at Screen Actors Guild awards ceremony

Kristen Bell
LOS ANGELES: The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) ceremony will be a women’s affair, organizers of one of Hollywood’s biggest awards shows said, a tribute at a time when the entertainment industry has been roiled by a sexual misconduct scandal as well as the struggle for gender equality in front of and behind the camera.
Women will present all 13 of the SAG awards at the Jan. 21 dinner in Los Angeles honoring the best of film and television, in a first for the organization, which represents some 160,000 actors.
“We are acknowledging the year of the woman,” said Kathy Connell, the executive producer of the ceremony.
The ceremony will also be hosted by a woman, “The Good Place” actress Kristen Bell.
“Our women are some of the most recognizable, most famous women in the world and they don’t have economic equality. They don’t have creative equality, and as we have learned, they don’t have safety either,” Connell said.
“If these famous women don’t have it, then what does it say about the rest of the country?“
The ceremony details were disclosed the same day that SAG announced the nominations for the 2018 awards.
Accusations of sexual misconduct against powerful men in entertainment, industry and politics have forced multiple Americans to step down or be fired from their jobs in the past three months.
Connell said the decision also reflected the impact of the January 2017 women’s marches that brought millions into the streets worldwide.
For all of the accomplishments of women in Hollywood, only one — Kathryn Bigelow — has ever won an Oscar for best director. And women made up only 17 percent of all directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors and cinematographers working on the top 250 biggest-grossing movies in 2016, according to a study by the San Diego-based Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film.
SAG’s nominations announced on Wednesday for movie and television performances featured many female-centric stories, including mother-daughter film “Lady Bird,” ice-skating movie “I, Tonya,” TV series “Big Little Lies” and wrestling drama “Glow.”
“We can only acknowledge the TV shows and the films that are offered. We don’t create them,” Connell said.
“There were quite a number of women-focused projects this year and I’m happy to say our membership decided to acknowledge many of them.”

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