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Annette Bening explains that feeling uncertain or insecure about one's art never goes away, but that's not a bad thing.

When the younger women who took part in the recent Envelope Roundtable for lead actresses began to wonder about confidence and insecurity and, you know, when do the jitters actually go away, veteran actress Annette Bening spoke up to ease their concerns by essentially telling them: It never goes away. But that’s not a bad thing, she assured them.

“Whenever you’re a creative person, you always have a certain amount of insecurity and uncertainty,” she said. “You want to be in a place of uncertainty, a place where something surprising can happen. That’s where the gold is.” The trick, she said to Soairse Ronan and Margot Robbie, is simply to cultivate those feelings, acknowledge them and accept them. And then, essentially, go with the flow.

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Kate Winslet, Margot Robbie and Saoirse Ronan discuss how they can help make sure young girls and boys know there is more to aspire to than just looking good by societal standards.

One of the many things discussed at this year’s Envelope Roundtable for lead actresses was the emphasis society is still putting on women’s looks: their size, the way they dress and how pretty they might be. Kate Winslet was having none of it but, as she notes, it won’t change until the next generation of girls and the ones after that are taught that there are other things to value about themselves.

“It’s so important that we’re putting across an image of what it means to be strong, successful, proud of your body, proud of who you are and proud of what you say,” the “Wonder Wheel” actress said, so that young women “will know that these are interesting things to aspire to be. It isn’t about an image.”

Actress Margot Robbie was grateful that she was able to approach "I, Tonya" with a fresh perspective since she wasn't familiar with Tonya Harding's story.

As part of the recent lead actress Envelope Roundtable, actress Margot Robbie talked about her work on the darkly comic biopic “I, Tonya.” Having grown up in Australia, Robbie wasn’t aware of the infamous saga of figure skater Tonya Harding. So she was able to approach the performance with a fresh perspective.

“In hindsight, I’m really grateful I wasn’t aware of the situation, or I didn’t know who any of these people were going into it, so I could really approach it with no preconceived notions or judgment,” she said. “I quickly found out that everyone had passed judgment on her.”

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Actress Jessica Chastain found the portrayal of women in the films she saw at the Cannes film festival "really disturbing."

Actress Jessica Chastain took part in the recent lead actress Envelope Roundtable for her performance in Aaron Sorkin’s directorial debut,  “Molly’s Game,” an adaptation of the memoir by Molly Bloom about her time running a high-stakes underground poker game. Chastain was also part of the jury for the 2017 Cannes Film festival and spoke out at the time regarding the collective impression those films made for their depictions of women.  During the roundtable, she noted that she had never before watched 21 films in such a short amount of time. And with such a disappointing results.

“Watching in that concentration, it became very clear to me, how the world viewed women and how little stories talked from a woman’s point of view, a story about a woman who wasn’t victimized,” she said. “Of course, there were exceptions at the Cannes film festival. However, I found it really disturbing in general, the image that was portrayed of women in the lineup that I saw.”

“She vibrates in this feminine place that is not as plot driven as much as it is atmospheric,” said Nicole Kidman of "The Beguiled" director Sofia Coppola.

As part of the Envelope Roundtable for supporting actresses, Nicole Kidman, Holly Hunter and Laurie Metcalf described their experiences working with female filmmakers, and how that can lead to a different atmosphere on-set. Kidman spoke of working with Sofia Coppola on “The Beguiled,” as well as her experiences with Jane Campion. Hunter won an Oscar for Campion’s “The Piano.” Laurie Metcalf spoke about working with Greta Gerwig on this year’s “Lady Bird.”

“Sofia, she vibrates in this feminine place that is not as plot-driven as much as it is atmospheric,” Kidman said.

“She’s very quietly spoken, and unbelievably powerful,” she added. “People are running around doing things, and she speaks barely above a whisper.”

Allison Janney discusses her approach to filming her "I, Tonya" scenes with a bird on her shoulder.

In “I, Tonya,” Allison Janney plays LaVona Golden, mother of figure skater Tonya Harding, who would become embroiled in the scandal surrounding the 1994 attack on fellow skater Nancy Kerrigan. In the film, the contentious relationship between Harding and Golden becomes a big part of the story and Harding’s motivation for success at skating.

A real-life documentary interview with Harding’s mother formed the basis for scenes when she talks directly to the camera with a small pet bird on her shoulder. 

During the Envelope Roundtable for supporting actresses, Janney talked about auditioning three birds for the part and how the calm bird picked for the role wasn’t so calm on shooting day, while adding “It was fun, I really fell in love with the bird.”

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"Mother!" and "Murder on the Orient Express" actressMichelle Pfeiffer explains how hertime away from acting just sort of happened.

A three-time Academy Award winner, Michelle Pfeiffer seemed to have more recently stepped away from Hollywood. Then this year she came back in big way, including supporting roles in Darren Aronofsky’s wild, provocative “mother!” and Kenneth Brannagh’s large-scaled telling of “Murder on the Orient Express.”

On our recent Envelope Roundtable for supporting actresses, Pfeiffer spoke about how it wasn’t so much a conscious decision to take time off and come back to acting, as just the way things turned out.

“It wasn’t unusual for me to take a year or two off in between projects anyway and I think two years became three and then, I don’t know, it became five,” she said. “But the truth is, it was actually when my second child started looking at colleges that I thought, ‘Hmm, maybe it’s time for me to get my foot back in the door.’ And at that time things started presenting themselves that looked interesting and then, here I am.”

Holly Hunter explains why "The Big Sick" is more of a rom-com than "Broadcast News."

“The Big Sick” has been hailed as a welcome return for the romantic comedy, as a couple comes together, goes through adversity, falls apart and comes back together again. The movie was written by the husband-and-wife team of Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani based on their own experiences. Nanjiani plays himself, with Zoe Kazan standing in for Gordon, and Holly Hunter and Ray Romano as her parents.

Hunter was at the Envelope Roundtable for supporting actresses recently and talked about “The Big Sick” in relation to “Broadcast News,” the 1987 film in which she starred and is now widely considered a classic modern rom-com. She noted how “Broadcast News” was taken less as a rom-com in its day and in fact, “‘Big Sick’ is more the romantic comedy genre, I think, because Kumail loves it.”

Hong Chau shares how the "regular" audience and film critics have reacted differently to her "Downsizing" character and accent.

With only her second role in a movie, actress Hong Chau has created one of the most talked-about characters of the year. In “Downsizing,” directed by Alexander Payne, a process is used to shrink humans to just five inches tall. Chau plays a Vietnamese political activist who is shrunk down by an opposition party. Upon becoming a cleaning woman to the wealthier parts of the tiny world, she helps a man (Matt Damon) see the bigger picture.

The role has proved to be controversial, with many journalists asking if the film presents a cultural stereotype in its depiction of Chau’s character. On the Envelope Roundtable for supporting actresses, Chau noted the conversations she has had with regular audiences and those she’s had with journalists have been very different. She also discussed how she defends the character and its representation in the movie.

“I think there’s a difference between characters with an accent who have two lines in something and my character, where she is driving a good portion of the story,” Chau said. 

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"Detroit" directorKathryn Bigelow and "The Florida Project" director Sean Baker howthey were drawn to the space that blends fictional narratives withstories rooted in facts for their films.

With her film “Detroit,” Kathryn Bigelow dramatizes real-life events that occurred during the 1967 riots in that city. In “The Florida Project,” Sean Baker tells a tale that explores life on the poverty-stricken fringes in contemporary Florida. Both movies weave fictional and dramatic elements from factual truths, creating stories that feel all too real.

“There's a place where drama and documentary kind of fuse, and that's sort of a place that interests me,” Bigelow said. “It becomes very topical and timely, and that's where the journalistic aspect comes in.”

Baker picked up on Bigelow’s idea of a fact/fiction hybrid by adding, “It's the cinema that I'm really finding the most fascinating right now and the most interesting, where that line is blurred between narrative fiction filmmaking and documentary-style filmmaking.”