Elizabeth Banks has issued an apology for omitting The Color Purple when calling out director Steven Spielberg for his lack of female leads.
Speaking at the Women in Film Crystal Awards on Tuesday, she said that she had seen every Spielberg movie ever made and that: “by the way, he’s never made a movie with a female lead”.
Shari Belafonte attempted to point out her mistake at the event, pointing out Goldberg’s lead role of Celie in the 1985 adaptation of The Color Purple; however, Banks appeared to dismiss her. In her apology Banks revealed that she and Belafonte spoke backstage and that Belafonte agreed to forgive her.
— Elizabeth Banks (@ElizabethBanks) June 15, 2017
Several commentators have been enraged that Banks omitted the title (which received 11 Academy Award nominations) and claimed that Bank’s feminism was exclusive to white actresses. Further anger occurred after people mistakenly assumed that she had called the box office success “a flop”. This was quickly dismissed when it became apparent that this was not her remark and had actually been made by a film critic on Twitter (who later deleted the tweet).
Despite Bank’s mistake, her wider point still rings true. Spielberg, like many veteran male Hollywood directors, cannot be entirely exonerated. Across his five-decade career, only two of his many movies feature adult female leads – The Color Purple (1985) and The Sugarland Express (1974).
Check out the trailer for The Color Purple below: