Helen Mirren Calls Out Sam Mendes at Empire Awards, Celebrates Women in the Film Industry

Helen Mirren; Sam Mendes Dave J Hogan/Getty Images; Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

The movie industry may be a man's world, but it wouldn't be nothing, nothing without women like Dame Helen Mirren. On Sunday, March 24, the Oscar-winning actress, 67, stood up and spoke out for all the ladies in Hollywood after director Sam Mendes failed to mention any female filmmakers in his speech at the Empire Awards in London. (Empire is a British film magazine; a U.S. version is available on the iPad.)

Taking the stage at the Grosvenor House Hotel to accept the Legend Award, Mirren called out Inspiration Award-winner Mendes for demonstrating how male-centric Hollywood has been. (Earlier in the night, the Skyfall visionary thanked fellow directors Paul Thomas Anderson, Francois Truffaut, Martin Scorsese, and Ingmar Bergman for influencing his career.)

"It was great to hear Sam's list of moments that inspired him in the movies. I did, however, note that there was not one woman's name there behind the camera," the actress said, eliciting a wave of "ooohs" from the crowd.

"Nothing against Sam — they were great, great moments he chose," Mirren clarified. "And it is true: When I first came into the film industry, it was a really bloke-y world. It was like walking to the locker room of a football club or something. A film set was a very, very masculine environment."

"Nowadays, that's really changed," she continued. "And it's fantastic to see women and girls in the lighting department, in cinematography, in the sound department, obviously in producing, in writing. And I just hope, I pray — I know — that in five or 10 years' time, when the next Sam gets up and makes his — or hopefully her — speech, there will be two or three or four or five women's names there."

"There are some wonderful, wonderful female directors coming up," Mirren concluded. "Many of them are British. And it's so exciting to see that. Go girls!"

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