Women in Hollywood
March 6, 2024

Spotlight On: Women in Hollywood

Erin Murphy By Erin Murphy

As we round out awards season and dive headlong into Women’s History Month, it seems like the perfect time to shine the spotlight on the women in Hollywood, both on-screen and behind-the-scenes, who have made iconic art and forged their own legacies.

Hear the memoirs, biographies, and books-behind-the-films that showcase the immense talent that these actors, directors, screenwriters, and producers possess and, thankfully, share with the rest of us.

Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann

Lily Gladstone, who plays Mollie Burkhart in the film adaptation of Killers of the Flower Moon, is having a history-making awards season: she is the first Native American to be nominated for and win the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Motion Picture, the first Indigenous actor to win the Screen Actor’s Guild Award for Best Female Actor, and is the first Native American woman to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress.

Listen to a clip from the Killers of the Flower Moon audiobook:

Find a Way by Diana Nyad

Nyad is the film adaptation of Diana Nyad’s life and attempts to swim the Straits of Florida, starring Annette Bening and Jodie Foster, who have been nominated for the Academy Awards for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress, respectively.

In the audiobook Find a Way, hear Diana Nyad’s story in her own words and own voice as she recounts her extraordinary life and journey to fulfilling her dream of being the first person to swim the shark-infested waters between Cuba and Florida at sixty-four. Listen to a clip: 

My Name Is Barbra by Barbra Streisand

Barbra Streisand, living legend and EGOT winner, needs no introduction. In My Name is Barbra, she tells her own story about her life and extraordinary career, from growing up in Brooklyn to her first star-making appearances in New York nightclubs to her breakout performance in Funny Girl on stage and in the film, and the successes and struggles that followed.

The audiobook edition, narrated by Barbra herself, features exclusive additional anecdotes and music. Listen to a clip:

Run Towards the Danger by Sarah Polley

Sarah Polley, writer and director of the 2022 Academy Award winner for Best Adapted Screenplay Women Talking, is celebrated for her work’s honesty, complexity, and deep humanity. After struggling with the aftermath of a concussion, Polley met a specialist who gave her wholly new advice: to recover from a traumatic injury, she had to retrain her mind to strength by charging towards the very activities that triggered her symptoms.

In her audiobook, she shows with riveting clarity the power of applying that same advice to other areas of her life in order to find a path forward, a way through. Rather than live in a protective crouch, she had to run towards the danger. Listen to a clip:

Out of the Corner by Jennifer Grey

In this close-to-the bone account, Jennifer Grey, star of Dirty Dancing and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, takes listeners on a vivid tour of the experiences that shaped her life.

With self-deprecating humor and bravery, she looks back on her adventures in Hollywood and shares the fallout from a plastic surgery procedure that caused the loss of her professional identity and career. Grey inspires with her hard-won battle back, reclaiming her sense of self from a culture and business that can impose a narrow and unforgiving definition of female worth. Listen to a clip:

Quietly Hostile by Samantha Irby

Samantha Irby’s career has taken her to new heights. As a television writer and producer, she dodges calls from Hollywood and flop sweats on the red carpet at premieres. But nothing is ever as it seems online, where she can crop out all the ugly parts.

In Quietly Hostile Irby takes listeners on another outrageously funny tour of all the gory details that make up the true portrait of a life behind the screenshotted depression memes, from emails about Carrie Bradshaw to diarrhea and anaphylactic shock. Listen to a clip:

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

The Princess Diarist is the Grammy Award-winning recollection of what happened on the set of the first Star Wars movie, and what developed behind the scenes, preserved in the journals of one Carrie Fisher.

Her entries are filled with plaintive love poems, unbridled musings with youthful naiveté, and also thoughts on the joys and insanity of celebrity, the absurdity of a life spawned by Hollywood royalty, and shrewd insight into the type of stardom that few will ever experience, all told in Fisher’s one-of-a-kind voice. Listen to a clip:

Off the Cliff by Becky Aikman

At its start, Thelma & Louise was just an idea in the head of Callie Khouri, a thirty-year-old music video production manager. But in the late 1980s, Hollywood was dominated by men. The likelihood of a script by an unheard-of screenwriter starring two women in lead roles actually getting made was remote. But Khouri had one thing going for her—she was so inexperienced she didn’t really know she would be attempting the nigh impossible.

In Off the Cliff, Becky Aikman tells the full extraordinary story behind this feminist sensation, which crashed through barricades, upended convention, and put women behind the wheel, in every sense. Listen to a clip: