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Which Oscar-Winning Actress Is Upset by the Lack of Female Roles in Hollywood?

At the premiere of her latest film Thor: The Dark World, a beautiful Oscar-winning actress was doing something unusual by Hollywood standards — she was complaining about female roles. Or rather, the lack of fully formed ones for actresses.

The star of Black Swan, Natalie Portman claimed that “feminism is misinterpreted” in Hollywood films, and blamed this on the fact that most roles for women are written by men. She suggested that because characters are often “just a fantasy of a male writer,” the women can keep up with the men in the physical sense, but they don’t have fully formed personalities. Shttp://www.babble.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=4322242&action=edithe went on to say: “I don’t think that it is necessarily feminist to see women like we see men in movies. Just having a range of different ways women can be — whether it’s weak and strong, just being human and being real, and not just being some fantasy of a male writer — is more feminist than ‘she knows how to do kung fu’.”

Portman said her character Jane, who has a relationship with Chris Hemsworth’s superhero Thor, is “multi-faceted,” adding, “You get to see a real woman, all the different sides in different situations.”

Previously, she told Elle magazine, “I want every version of a woman and a man to be possible. I want women and men to be able to be full-time parents or full-time working people or any combination of the two. I want them to be allowed to be weak and strong and happy and sad human, basically. The fallacy in Hollywood is that if you’re making a ‘feminist’ story, the woman kicks [butt] and wins. That’s not feminist, that’s macho. A movie about a weak, vulnerable woman can be feminist if it shows a real person that we can empathize with.”

Does Portman have a point? Are most female roles the “girlfriend” or the “sidekick” or the “mean boss”? Well, occasionally. I can imagine that there are many women clamoring for the few meaty Oscar-worthy roles that are up for grabs every year. But a trawl through film history brought up some amazing films with women leading the way. Some of my favorite films of all time have had leading female roles — characters that are well-rounded, smart, sassy women.

So check out the slideshow below of some of the best female roles EVER to grace our screens. If you can think of any more, let me know!

  • Maggie Fitzgerald in Million Dollar Baby 1 of 14
    million

    Hankies at the ready! Hilary Swank rightfully won an Oscar for her career best performance in the wonderful Eastwood-directed Million Dollar Baby. Maggie Fitzgerald is as shy as she is tough. She wants Frankie Dunn to train her, and despite him refusing to train a girl, he subsequently does and discovers she is a gifted fighter. Eventually, he secures her a title fight ... but tragedy ensues. As Frankie's heart melts for this petite champion, so does ours. By the time the credits rolled, I was blinded by tears... 

    Photo credit: Amazon 

  • Erin Brockovich in Erin Brockovich 2 of 14
    erin

    Julia Roberts won an Oscar for her portrayal of white trash Erin Brockovich, who demands a job from the lawyer that failed to win a case against her being in a car crash. Erin may not be a trained lawyer, but she can smell a load of baloney when she sniffs it out. Discovering that a local gas company has been contaminating the water, she fights on behalf of the Hinkley town residents. Ballsy, brash, and brilliant, she is a modern-day heroine. A woman's woman and a mother to all. Those who judge her on her push-up bras and short skirts, do so at your peril! 

    Photo credit: Amazon 

  • Marquise de Merteuil in Dangerous Liaisons 3 of 14
    danergous

    This has to be in my top ten films of all time ... but then you could argue, has Glenn Close ever been in a bad film? The woman is probably my favorite actress of all time. Picking my favorite film of hers was a feat! But I picked Dangerous Liaisons, as she is so deliciously wicked and cold in her part. Constricted by the female role in society during that time period, she got her kicks by playing games with as many men as possible. The scene where she declares war on the sublime John Malkovich's Valmont is just breathtaking!

    Photo credit: Amazon 

  • Clarice Starling in The Silence of the Lambs 4 of 14
    clarice

    During the summer of 1991, I was meant to be studying for my all important A-level exams, but The Silence of the Lambs opened, and I simply couldn't miss it. Jodie Foster won her second Oscar for her riveting performance as the super smart, super keen, super honest FBI trainee Clarice Starling. In hunting for a serial killer that the press have coined "Buffalo Bill," it seems the only person who can help Clarice solve the crime is the haunting Dr. Lecter. Braver than any other FBI agent I have ever seen on screen, this film stands the test of time — one I can watch time and again. 

    Photo Credit: Amazon 

  • Margo Channing in All About Eve 5 of 14
    all about eve

    "Fasten your seatbelts, it's gonna be a bumpy night!" exclaims Margo Channing, darling of the theater and party hostess, to her assembled throng. Bette Davis won an Oscar for her winsome Margo, who meets her match in the tiny shrew Eve who appears to hang on Margo's every word. But Eve has a wicked plan, and Margo soon realizes this once the cuckoo is in the nest. Sparks fly, but Davis plays Margo as cool as a cucumber. This film has more twists than a country road. It won more Oscars than any other movie before it (a record held until Titanic); this is a timeless classic. 

    Photo Credit: Amazon 

  • The Bride in Kill Bill 6 of 14
    kill bill

    Uma Thurman's vengeful bride strides across two films with her massive sword, extracting revenge on all those who left her for dead on her wedding day. From the moment she wiggles her little toe and manages to escape from the hospital, we are transfixed. Once a member of a secret assassination team, she now turns the tables on her former colleagues — leaving Bill of course, for last. Slowly, slowly, she catches her monkey!

    Photo Credit: Amazon 

  • Karen Silkwood in Silkwood 7 of 14
    silkwood

    Meryl Streep had already won two Oscars by the time she played real life worker Karen Silkwood. Silkwood worked in a nuclear power plant and began a brave investigation into their unsafe practices, which led to her suspicious death in a motor accident. Her death remains unsolved. Karen, who appears to be your average girl, is anything but. And in the movie, her best mate is played by Cher. Just brilliant. 

    Photo credit: Amazon 

  • Sally Albright in When Harry Met Sally 8 of 14
    when harry met sally

    I love this film for so many reasons, not least Sally Albright and her wonderful, slightly neurotic way of ordering food. She is a girl like us, loving the wrong guy, getting over heartbreak, trying to get out there and date again, then realizing she has fallen for her best friend. Quirky, kind, silly and smart, she hasn't got life figured out — and that is the beauty of her. No wonder Harry loves her ... he just doesn't know it yet. 

    Photo credit: Amazon 

  • Bridget Gregory in The Last Seduction 9 of 14
    seduction

    What a woman! Bridget skips town, having stolen $70,000 from her husband, and winds up in a small town where she begins dating Mike and gets a job at the insurance company that he works at. While Mike falls for her direct charms, Bridget has bigger fish to fry and her hapless lover ends up as a mere pawn in her game. This was the first film I watched where a woman beat men at their own game. No matter what she does, you can't help admire a woman who is THAT in control. 

    Photo credit: Amazon 

  • Leigh Anne Tuohy in The Blind Side 10 of 14
    the blind side

    Hollywood sweetheart Sandra Bullock was never better as the mom who took in a kid from the wrong side of the tracks and gave him a bed, a meal, a home, and eventually a family. This "based on a true story" movie showed how one woman can change not only a life, but her own along the way. No matter what her fancy neighbors and friends think, she knows that Big Mike has a kind heart. She defends him and supports him, showing that her heart is bigger than Mike's T-shirts. Go girl! 

    Photo credit: Amazon 

  • Baby in Dirty Dancing 11 of 14
    baby in dirty

    Natalie Portman mentions in her Elle magazine interview that although she loves many films, this is the one she watches over and over again. Frankly, who doesn't? "Nobody puts Baby in a corner" and "I carried a watermelon" are two of the greatest lines ever in cinematic history. It was the summer of 1987, and I wanted to be Baby — me and the rest of the female population. We all dreamed of being lifted off our feet by a dark dancer named Johnny. We have ALL had the "watermelon" moment when we said the most idiotic thing to the cut guy. The film that never ever gets old. *Sighs*

    Photo credit: Amazon 

  • Mary Poppins in Mary Poppins 12 of 14
    mary poppins

    Julie Andrews had hoped to be in My Fair Lady, but producers had deemed her not suitable. She took this role instead and laughed all the way up the red carpet to receive her Oscar for her unforgettable performance as Mary Poppins, the nanny who is more concerned with imagination and fun (and singing a darn fine tune!) than health and safety! With her magic umbrella and a little help from Dick Van Dyke's sweep, Mary is the most memorable nanny ever to kick her heels and wag a finger on screen. 

    Photo credit: Amazon 

  • Lisbeth Salander in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 13 of 14
    girl with the dragon

    Lisbeth Salander is a slip of a girl — fragile and small — but with a lion's bravery. She will not be taken advantage of. A computer hacker who slips through life unnoticed, she is no damsel needing to be saved. More likely, Lisbeth will come to save you. Enigmatic, aloof, and bordering on cold, she keeps to herself as she ducks and dives through life. In a flash, she'll be gone. But you'll never ever forget her. 

    Photo credit: Amazon 

  • Louise Sawyer in Thelma and Louise 14 of 14
    thelma

    Louise Sawyer hopes for a quiet weekend in the mountains with best pal Thelma, but their plans go awry after they stop off for a drink en route. Suddenly, they are on their way to Mexico to avoid the police, who are hot on their tail. Louise is made of tough stuff — until Jimmy delivers her life savings and sly (but oh so cute) cowboy JD runs off with it. Then she crumbles ... but best mate Thelma is there to help. Both lead roles were Oscar-nominated, and deservedly so. This is the ultimate girls' film, but at its core is Louise and what she overcame to make her the woman she is today. 

    Photo credit: Amazon 

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