Award season as Hollywood resets
By Sandra Gonzalez
Over three months beginning in October, CNN Entertainment sat down with Steven Spielberg, Jessica Chastain, Greta Gerwig, Jordan Peele and other storytellers to talk about filmmaking and creativity for CNN's award season series, Creators.
We launched the initiative a year ago. The goal is to highlight and celebrate the filmmakers, actors and producers who bring to life the stories that move, inspire and excite us.
Patty Jenkins, the director of "Wonder Woman," was the first person interviewed for this season of Creators. Our chat took place days after the first round of allegations were made against the now-disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.
At the time, the significance of that moment was only beginning to settle in.
Each week that followed was marked by more allegations against other prominent people. Reaction turned into action, reflection and hope for a better future in Hollywood and elsewhere.
One screenwriter told me: "I don't think it's been a rocky year for Hollywood; I think it's been a great year for Hollywood. The resetting here is a great thing. I think we are getting rid of a lot of people who have been doing a lot of bad things a long time."
Some called it a reckoning, others a tipping point. The label matters less than what the movement's birth will mean for workplace cultures.
Big and important questions about women in entertainment and filmmaking are now a part of the conversation — how they are treated, the opportunities they get, and what stories get told.
Those are some of the subjects that came up in this year's Creators interviews.
The nine Creators our team spoke with — Kumail Nanjiani, Aaron Sorkin, George Clooney and Hugh Jackman, in addition to Chastain, Jenkins, Peele, Gerwig and Spielberg — represent some of Hollywood's best and brightest creative minds.
Gerwig's "Lady Bird" portrayed a mother-daughter relationship in a layered, heartfelt way that hasn't been seen since "Real Women Have Curves."
With "Wonder Woman," Jenkins proved to naysayers that heroic women can be wonders at the box office.
Peele disrupted the industry with a movie about racism unlike any we've seen before.
Nanjiani brought a deeply personal, autobiographical touch to the rom-com.
Chastain gave a voice to a misunderstood woman on screen and was a voice for countless more off screen.
Jackman gave an iconic character a moving curtain call and still had time to be a great showman.
Wordsmith Sorkin used his directorial debut to make a story about a tough-as-nails woman bloom on screen.
Clooney highlighted a Pennsylvania family who years ago saw the ugliest side of humanity.
Spielberg raced to tell a period story with a revealing light on the present day.
In speaking to each of them, what came through was their love and passion for their jobs, for stories, and for people.
That's what we tried to capture in this round of Creators.
Spielberg was the last person we spoke to for the series, thus, he had the most hindsight on what had taken place in the months prior.
A self-described "optimist," he said: "I think it's a significant time….Things are changing and they're changing faster than I've ever seen things change."