The 41st New York Women in Film and Television Muse Awards honored some of the women who have made groundbreaking strides on and off the screen and opened doors for others in the entertainment industry.
When honoree Rachel Brosnahan felt “frustrated by the kinds of roles that were being presented” to her, the two-time Golden Globe winner said she pivoted to producing the projects she wanted to be a part of.
“Almost every script I was reading, somehow centered around my uterus — whether it was about a young woman who was wanting to have children and not being able to have children, having an abortion, or being in a relationship where someone else has a child and that becomes the catalyst for the drama. All of those stories are valid and valuable, but they’re not the only stories about women,” said Brosnahan, who’s best known for playing the titular role in “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.”
I wasn’t seeing stories about the kinds of women that I know and love in my life who are ambitious and sometimes loud and messy. It has nothing to do with their child-bearing capabilities, so I realized that there was a path toward taking a bit more control over the kind of stories that I was a part of.”
Director-writer Gina Prince-Bythewood, who most recently helmed “The Old Guard,” echoed Brosnahan’s commitment to expanding representation of women on screen. She added that this year, with the reignited Black Lives Matter movement, was the first time that her fight to write stories about Black women didn’t receive pushback.
“I feel like my entire career has been just been in a sustained fight in the center of Black women in our stories in an authentic and truthful way,” she said when receiving the Nancy Malone directing award. “I want more women who look like me making these films. I feel like I’ve been the only one in so many rooms — too many rooms — so it was my job absolutely once I got to that door to lock that door open and pull.”
When honored with the Made in New York award from the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, Awkwafina expressed her love for her home state, describing it as “a part of my history, my roots and my culture.”
“I know that this year has been pretty devastating, especially to our small businesses — places that I have grown up frequenting, places that are staples of my childhood [and] are part of my memories — are shuttered permanently due to the pandemic,” she said. “It is with my greatest hope that we find a way to help these businesses as well as recover in the best ways that we can.”
Thursday’s virtual ceremony also recognized Tony-winning actor Ali Stroker, Alana Mayo, Rashida Jones and journalists Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey.