Introducing the Legendaries

Everyone knows classic actress Mary Pickford as America’s sweetheart. Few realize that Pickford was also a director, a producer and a screenwriter.

And, few people today know that the first female film director — Alice Guy-Blache — directed one of the first narrative fiction films way back in 1896. Or that is was female and out lesbian film director Dorothy Arzner, who in all likelihood invented the boom mic, and who taught the directing craft to Francis Ford Coppola.

Women have been making films for as long as — well — human beings in general have been making films. Yet to date, only a single woman has won an Academy Award for Best Achievement in Directing: Kathryn Bigelow scored this honor for The Hurt Locker in 2008.

These statistics aren’t likely to improve anytime soon. According to information supplied by the Women’s Media Center (http://www.womensmediacenter.com/blog/entry/the-oscars-gender-gap) “across 19 non-acting categories in this year’s Oscar race, 149 men are nominated versus 35 women…..There are seven Oscar categories with no women nominated (directing, writing–original screenplay, writing–adapted screenplay, cinematography, original score, visual effects, sound mixing)…(and) since 2012, only 19% of all non-acting Oscar nominations have been for women.”

An additional concern lies in the fact that at just about any public awards ceremony, any woman who walks the red carpet becomes a moving target, with fashion critics and internet commentators critiquing her clothes, her hair and cosmetic style, and even her age and body type.

As much as we all love the splendor and spectacle of the Academy Awards, a cinematic institution that stands as a cornerstone of the motion picture genre, it is evident that we need an alternative awards program, one that honors the contributions of women working at all levels of the movie industry. From the actresses who turn in compelling portraits of inspiring real-life and fantasy heroines, to the directors, producers, technical specialists and screenwriters who bring their stories magically to life, these ladies more than deserve an honor all their own.

And that is where Lucinda comes in…

The Legendary Women, Inc. Awards for Excellence in Film, or The Legendaries, is an awards program dedicated to honoring the efforts and achievements of women in both mainstream and independent film, at every level and in any job category. From directors to actresses, writers to producers, composers to technical specialists, stunt people to film journalists, so many women in the modern film industry are deserving of Legendaries honors.

Although the driving spirit of the Legendaries is strong and serious in intent, the awards program is not competitive in nature. Every Legendary nominee will win an honor in her category. We honor and celebrate all nominees on an equal level, thus eliminating the somewhat toxic atmosphere that pervades many awards shows.

And just as The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences offers the Oscar, the symbol and embodiment of The Legendaries awards program is the Lucinda, a name inspired by the 1997 film Oscar and Lucinda. Directed by Gillian Armstrong and written by Laura Jones, this little-seen gem counts a female factory owner as a heroine. Along similar lines, we see the character of Lucinda as bright, strong, resourceful, and dedicated to getting the job done and in this case, the job is to bring honor and recognition to top-achieving women in the film industry.

The Lucindas are not about dos and don’ts, but about dreams and deeds. The Lucindas are not about what you wear or who you date, but what you’ve done. The Lucindas are not about competition, they’re about creativity, challenge, communication and cooperation. The Lucindas are not about gossip, they’re about accomplishment.

We now invite you, the readers and followers of Legendary Women, to join our nominating committee and to send us your nominees for women deserving of a Legendary honor. These could be directors or producers, stunt women or technical specialists, set and costume designers or composers, screenwriters or film journalists. Please send all nominations — in addition to any ideas or suggestions you might have in regards to our program — to awards coordinator Megan Hussey at legendarylucinda@lycos.com. Also feel free to tweet @legendarywomen with nominees, using the hashtag #legendarylucinda when you do.

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