There have been notable women in the world since that first apple-curious gal was made from an extra rib, and Hollywood has even covered many of their stories. But it just can't seem to allow that bubble to burst fully into the X-X spectrum. The lack of female directors has been well chronicled: We've seen the challenge in following the Bechdel Rule, and the list goes on and on. Most recently, we've watched as Catherine Hardwicke earned the best box office opening for a female director ever, only to be axed and replaced by Chris Weitz for the Twilight sequel, New Moon. Not exactly the best way to wrap up 2008 and kick off 2009, but life goes on and so do we.

Hollywood also moves on, and luckily there are still women to watch for. Some are older, and some are quite young; a few have the pressures of sophomore features, and one isn't even real. But they're all women who will mold the face of Hollywood in 2009. Read on and make sure to comment with the woman (or women) of Hollywood that you're waiting to see in the new year!


Coraline
The lone fictional construct on the list, Coraline is the type of girl we need to see more of on the big screen -- the strong and spunky alternative to coiffed princess and perky fairies. She's a young woman who not only embodies the life and voraciousness of young female adventurers, but also the toughness that would make many squeamish. It doesn't hurt that she's also voiced by the unstoppable acting powerhouse that is Dakota Fanning (who also shows up (all grown up) in the 2009 sci-fi thriller Push). Coraline will hit the screen on February 6.

Rachel Weisz
Since facing the undead in The Mummy, Rachel Weisz has been a woman to watch for, letting her career slowly build from family-friendly horror to romantic comedy, international drama that won her an Oscar, and even time-bending science fiction. 2009 will bring two films, one which will immortalize her in the world of quirk, and one that heap on tear-jerking, heart-breaking drama.

Up first is The Brothers Bloom, currently scheduled to hit theaters on May 15 (if it doesn't get bumped again). Rian Johnson's con-filled film offers one of the most fun and dynamic women the big screen has seen in ages. Weisz's well-off Penelope might be a strange and reclusive bad driver, but she's also incredibly multi-talented, intelligent, and exuberantly adventurous. She is a love interest, but that is merely a slice of her role, rather than the whole deal.

Once December 11 hits, audiences can see an entirely different Weisz as she takes on the role of Abigail Salmon in the long-awaited adaptation of Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones .. and if we're lucky, we may even see her play Catwoman in the next Batman movie.



Rachel Weisz Photos

    Academy Award-winning actress Rachel Weisz arrives at the ACLU of Southern California

    Dr. Billy Ingram/FilmMagic.com

    Academy Award-winning actress Rachel Weisz arrives at the ACLU of Southern California

    Dr. Billy Ingram/FilmMagic.com

    BEVERLY HILLS, CA - DECEMBER 08: Co-chairman David Linde of Universal Pictures and actress Rachel Weisz arrive at ACLU of Southern California's annual Bill of Rights Dinner held at The Beverly Wilshire Hotel on December 8, 2008 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Angela Weiss/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** David Linde;Rachel Weisz

    Getty Images

    BEVERLY HILLS, CA - DECEMBER 08: Actress Rachel Weisz arrives at ACLU of Southern California's annual Bill of Rights Dinner held at The Beverly Wilshire Hotel on December 8, 2008 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Angela Weiss/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Rachel Weisz

    Getty Images

    BEVERLY HILLS, CA - DECEMBER 08: Actress Rachel Weisz arrives at ACLU of Southern California's annual Bill of Rights Dinner held at The Beverly Wilshire Hotel on December 8, 2008 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Angela Weiss/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Rachel Weisz

    Getty Images

    BEVERLY HILLS, CA - DECEMBER 08: Actress Rachel Weisz arrives at ACLU of Southern California's annual Bill of Rights Dinner held at The Beverly Wilshire Hotel on December 8, 2008 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Angela Weiss/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Rachel Weisz

    Getty Images

    BEVERLY HILLS, CA - DECEMBER 08: Actress Rachel Weisz arrives at ACLU of Southern California's annual Bill of Rights Dinner held at The Beverly Wilshire Hotel on December 8, 2008 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Angela Weiss/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Rachel Weisz

    Getty Images

    BEVERLY HILLS, CA - DECEMBER 08: Actress Rachel Weisz arrives at ACLU of Southern California's annual Bill of Rights Dinner held at The Beverly Wilshire Hotel on December 8, 2008 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Angela Weiss/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Rachel Weisz

    Getty Images

    BEVERLY HILLS, CA - DECEMBER 08: Actress Rachel Weisz arrives at ACLU of Southern California's annual Bill of Rights Dinner held at The Beverly Wilshire Hotel on December 8, 2008 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Angela Weiss/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Rachel Weisz

    Getty Images

    Actress Rachel Weisz attends the 18th Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards at Museum of Finance on December 2, 2008 in New York City.

    Charles Eshelman/FilmMagic.com



Nia Vardalos
In 2002, Nia Vardalos exploded onto the scene with her indie rom-com My Big Fat Greek Wedding. In the blink of an eye, she upped the cinematic stakes, but they were soon too high for her to scale. Her television show tanked almost as soon as it began, and Connie and Carla came and went with barely a slice of the same fanfare -- a disappointing wrap up to such rampant success.

But May 8 will finally bring her back to the screen in her next Greek-centric comedy, My Life in Ruins. While the idea didn't come from her (Mike Reiss penned the original screenplay), it's true Vardalos -- romance on the backdrop of Greek culture -- and she did rewrite the script when she signed on. But the big question remains: Will Mediterranean romance get her back on track, or will it have been a waste of the Acropolis?

Ellen Burstyn
Ellen Burstyn has always been a notable actress, but her talents were finally used to their fullest when she played Sara Goldfarb in Requiem for a Dream -- a role that should have won her the Academy Award. Now, in the wake of W., Burstyn gets to find romance with Martin Landau in the upcoming drama Lovely, Still -- one of the few films that spans the age gap in Hollywood, offering solid cinema to the baby boomers and older generations who don't want superheroes, Miley, and '80s remakes.

Eric D. Snider said of the film from TIFF: "This sweet, surprising story about romance between senior citizens is uncommonly lovely, and a serene stillness rests over most of it. Of course, the title works the other way, too: The process of falling in love is lovely, still, even after all these years." You can't get a better endorsement than that. A specific release date has not been set, but I would prepare to see this over the 2009 holiday season.

Megan Fox
It might seem surprising that I've chosen to include Megan Fox, since her current impact has been purely physical (as the many drooling Fox posts on Cinematical attest) -- but this is the choice of hope. Besides facing the big machines once again with Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Fox is slated to fight demon possession with Jennifer's Body sometime in 2009 -- one of the few truly female-centric features we can expect in the new year.

We get to see how Diablo Cody handles horror comedy under the directorial eye of Karyn Kusama, and how she fares with life after Juno. But this also gives Fox a sexy, meatier, flesh-eating role. It might be too much of a jump to expect Oscar nods in the future (although after Jolie's transformation, anything is possible), but a solid film full of women would not only help the horror landscape and Hollywood overall, but also give Fox credit with the Y-free ladies.

Megan Fox Photos

    Actress Megan Fox speaks onstage at Spike TV

    Kevin Parry/WireImage.com

    Actress Megan Fox speaks onstage at Spike TV

    Kevin Parry/WireImage.com

    Megan Fox backstage during Spike TV

    Chris Polk/FilmMagic.com

    Megan Fox backstage during Spike TV

    Chris Polk/FilmMagic.com

    Actress Megan Fox presents the game of the year award at the sixth annual Video Game Awards at Sony Picture Studios in Culver City, Calif., on Sunday Dec. 14, 2008. (AP Photo)

    AP

    Actress Megan Fox presents the Game Of The Year award at the sixth annual Video Game Awards at Sony Picture Studios in Culver City, Calif., on Sunday Dec. 14, 2008. (AP Photo)

    AP

    CULVER CITY, CA - DECEMBER 14: (L-R) Spike TV president Kevin Kay, actress Megan Fox, and President of MTV Networks Entertainment Group Doug Herzog pose backstage at Spike TV's 2008 "Video Game Awards" held at Sony Pictures' Studios on December 14, 2008 in Culver City, California. (Photo by Frank Micelotta/Getty Images for Spike TV) *** Local Caption *** Kevin Kay;Megan Fox;Doug Herzog

    Getty Images for Spike TV

    CULVER CITY, CA - DECEMBER 14: Actress Megan Fox poses backstage at Spike TV's 2008 "Video Game Awards" held at Sony Pictures' Studios on December 14, 2008 in Culver City, California. (Photo by Frank Micelotta/Getty Images for Spike TV) *** Local Caption *** Megan Fox

    Getty Images for Spike TV

    CULVER CITY, CA - DECEMBER 14: Actress Megan Fox poses backstage at Spike TV's 2008 "Video Game Awards" held at Sony Pictures' Studios on December 14, 2008 in Culver City, California. (Photo by Frank Micelotta/Getty Images for Spike TV) *** Local Caption *** Megan Fox

    Getty Images for Spike TV

    CULVER CITY, CA - DECEMBER 14: Actress Megan Fox presents the Game Of The Year award onstage at Spike TV's 2008 "Video Game Awards" held at Sony Pictures' Studios on December 14, 2008 in Culver City, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Spike TV) *** Local Caption *** Megan Fox

    Getty Images for Spike TV




Saoirse Ronan

The young actress might not have the extensive experience of actresses like Dakota Fanning, but Saoirse Ronan exploded into Hollywood with Atonement -- a film that earned her an Oscar nomination. And now she's set to begin and end 2009.

First there's The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, which kicks off 2009's releases on January 1.* Then, just as we forget about the early 2009 films, The Lovely Bones will finally hit screens on December 11, with Ronan playing the slain lead, Susie Salmon. If Peter Jackson has played this right, we should see Ronan grab another Academy nod ... and maybe even a win?

*While Moviefone lists the release as Jan. 1, the below comments are right -- Pierce Brosnan notes that the film will go into production next summer.

Malin Akerman
After getting the pustule-laden honor of being Freakshow's main squeeze in Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, Malin Akerman has been inundating us with some well-received, and some much less so, rom-coms.

2009 will bring us more of the same with Couples Retreat and The Proposal, but it will also bring us a film that could rip her out of romance -- Watchmen. It seemed strange and unbelievable to hear that Akerman would take the role of Laurie Juspeczyk -aka- Silk Spectre number two in the graphic novel adaptation, but so far, so good. We won't know for sure until the film hits theaters on March 6, but for now she's made one heck of an awkward outfit seem not only sexy, but downright tough, and proved she has talents beyond romantic mayhem. Will she finally break out of the rom-com hold?

Two honorable mentions in the geek realm: Sigourney Weaver will head back to sci-fi action with Avatar on December 18, and Moon Bloodgood will kick some ass in Street Fighter on February 27 and Terminator Salvation on May 22.

Malin Akerman Photos

    Actress Malin Akerman, Actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Actress Carla Gugino arrive at the Spike TV

    Gregg DeGuire/WireImage.com

    Actors Malin Akerman, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Carla Gugino arrive at the Spike TV

    Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage.com

    Actors Malin Akerman, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Carla Gugino arrive at the Spike TV

    Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage.com

    Actress Malin Akerman arrives at the Spike TV

    Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage.com

    Actress Malin Akerman arrives at the Spike TV

    Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage.com

    Actress Malin Akerman arrives at the Spike TV

    Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage.com

    Actress Malin Akerman arrives at the Spike TV

    Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage.com

    Actress Malin Akerman arrives at the Spike TV

    Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage.com

    Actress Malin Akerman arrives at the Spike TV

    Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage.com

    Actresses Malin Akerman (L) and Carla Gugino attends SPIKE TV

    FilmMagic Inc/FilmMagic.com

CATEGORIES Fandom, Cinematical