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Women on the Big Screen: Eight Movies to Watch for in 2015 (Including Tina & Amy)

So we bid adieu to Tina Fey and Amy Poehler as perhaps the most charming, witty Golden Globe hosts of all time. The longtime friends and charismatic collaborators finished their three-year run last at last night’s 72nd annual Golden Globes ceremony just as they began it: sharp, topical, irreverent, and so comfortable together on stage they make everyone else comfortable (even those at the butt of their jokes). It was a great run, and hats off to the Hollywood Foreign Press for knowing a good thing when they had it, letting these two stars carry the telecast for years.

Fey and Poehler have been headliners for a long time now, two super bright comedic lights who have made a huge impact on screens big and small. They’ve shared the small screen together countless times, and although we said goodbye to them as hosts of the Globes last night, we’ll be seeing them on the big screen this year in Sisters, which Fey co-produced, one of the female-led films coming up this year that we’re excited about.

While we look ahead to 2015, we’re still extremely excited about what happened last year for women in film. Take a look at the triumph that is Selma, which had a long list of interested male directors (Michael Mann, Stephen Frears, Spike Lee, Lee Daniels, Paul Haggis) but got the director it needed, Ava DuVernay. After star David Oyelowo lobbied for the title role as Martin Luther King Jr. for years, he also pushed for DuVernay as his director, and all she did was knock the opportunity out of the park. DuVernay’s career is just getting started, and we can’t wait to see what project she dives into next. Or think about one of the most successful franchises in film history, The Hunger Games. The series has been overseen by power producer Nina Jacobson, who is not only shepherding this critically acclaimed juggernaut, but has a list of upcoming projects that have us very interested (the adaptation of Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch, anyone?)

There are more reasons to be hopeful about the continued rise of women in film and TV. In her acceptance speech last night after being named Best Actress in a Miniseries or TV Movie for The Honourable Woman, actress Maggie Gyllenhaal remarked about the wealth of roles for “’actual women’ in television [and in film] lately,” calling the trend “revolutionary and evolutionary.”

Here, The Credits looks at eight mainstream films expected in 2015—each of which features one or more lead female characters with significant contributions from behind the scenes by women.

Sisters

For all their success as a small-screen two-headed comedic juggernaut, it’s hard to believe that Tina Fey and Amy Poehler have only been paired together once before on the big screen—in 2008’s Baby Mama. Sisters rights that wrong by reuniting the duo as siblings who return to their childhood home in Orlando, Florida, to clean out their room when their parents decide to sell. You have to be excited by these bones: The screenplay is by Paula Pell, a Saturday Night Live writer with 20 years experience who worked frequently with Fey and Poehler.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2

She is “a sensational character…that fires up your imagination.” That’s how Manohla Dargis describes the action heroine for a new age, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), in The New York Times. And yet, that only hints at the essence of what makes the Hunger Games franchise so wildly popular among young female audiences. (Mockingjay – Part 1 was 2014’s number 2 box office winner despite opening in late November.) Though Part 2, the last in the four-film series, will hew to the book storyline as all previous have, it is expected to deliver big time.

Fifty Shades of Grey

Call us presumptuous, but we’re labeling the highly anticipated Fifty Shades as THE women’s film of 2015. Start with the astounding popularity of the steamy source material among female readers, which was, of course, penned by a woman, E.L. James. Add screenwriter Kelly Marcel, who was named a 2013 winner of Britain’s Women in Film and TV Awards then toss in director Sam Taylor-Johnson — she of the tender John Lennon 2009 biopic Nowhere Boy — and you have a unique mix. Did we mention the film opens on February 13—one day before Valentine’s Day?

The Intern

It’s tempting to define writer/director Nancy Meyers as the queen of Hollywood rom-coms. After all, she does have a proven track record of making us laugh at the vicissitudes of relationships with such films as It’s Complicated and Something’s Gotta Give. Meyers is the helm of The Intern, which features Anne Hathaway as the owner of an online fashion website who hires a senior intern played by Robert De Niro. It’s set to open in September.

Americanah

Though no director or writer is attached to it yet, plans continue moving forward on the indie drama Americanah, which is based on Chimananda Ngozi Adichie’s acclaimed novel of the same name. (Forgive us if you already know this: Adichie is a woman.) The book was optioned in June by Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong’o (Best Supporting Actress, 12 Years a Slave) and last month added David Oyelowo (Golden Globe nominee, Selma) to the cast. The pair stars as a young couple whose love is tested when they are separated while emigrating from their native Nigeria.

By The Sea

Angelina Jolie came out swinging in her first two directing efforts. Her 2011 debut, In the Land of Milk and Honey (she also wrote the script) takes place in war-torn Bosnia. The World War II drama Unknown is a major action epic with moments of emotional flourish. Here, Jolie dials it down with a provocative and intimate drama set in France in the mid 1970s in which she also stars with off-screen husband Brad Pitt. Jolie also wrote and produced the script. No release date is set.

Sleeping With Other People

Writer/director Leslye Headland made a splash at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival when her first feature, the Will Ferrell-produced Bachelorette, put her on the up-and-comer list in a hurry. She’ll be back at Sundance later this month with Sleeping With Other People, starring Jason Sudekis and Alison Brie. The pair play former college students who lost their virginity to each other and reunite inadvertently 12 years later at a wedding. Release date is slated for August

Mistress America

Also premiering at Sundance, Mistress America is a romantic comedy about a lonely college freshman in New York City (Lola Kirke) who connects with her soon-to-be stepsister (Greta Gerwig) and discovers all kinds of glamorous adventures. Gerwig penned the screenplay with off-screen beau Noah Baumbach (director, The Fantastic Mr. Fox) and also co-produced. (The pair co-authored 2012’s Frances Ha) Baumbach is at the helm here. It’s slated for release later this year.

Featured image: Tina Fey and Amy Poehler host the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, CA on Sunday, January 11, 2015. Courtesy NBC/The Hollywood Foreign Press

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