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Women represented only 20 percent of Academy Award nominees in the non-acting categories this year, a new study has found. And for the seventh straight year, no woman was recognized in the Best Director category.
According to a Women’s Media Center analysis, female Oscar nominees dropped 2 percentage points from last year’s nominations although hundreds of new members were invited to the Academy over the past year. The last time a woman was nominated for Best Director was Kathryn Bigelow in 2009 for “The Hurt Locker.”
There were signs of progress. Director Ava DuVernay was nominated in the Documentary Feature category for “13th” and nine women were nominated as producers in the Best Picture category, an 11-year high. (Although, the study noted they were vastly outnumbered by the 21 men nominated in the category.)
“We have a saying, ‘If you can see it, you can be it,’ but in the crucial behind-the-scenes non-acting roles, our ‘Women’s Media Center Investigation’ shows that what you see is 80 percent of all nominees are men,” Julie Burton, president of the Women’s Media Center, said in a statement.
“Four out of five nominees are men — meaning male voices and perspectives are largely responsible for what we see on screen.”
Indeed, the recent annual Celluloid Ceiling report by Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University found that only 17 percent of all directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors and cinematographers working on the top 250 domestic grossing films were women.
“Clearly, women cannot get through the door and if they cannot get through the door, they cannot be recognized — and rewarded — for their excellence and impact,” Burton added. “In the meantime, and with appreciation to Michelle Obama, we ask the studio and agency executives who are okay with making a bunch of deals that exclude women to ‘Be Better.’ The perspectives, experience and voices of more than half the population deserve an equal seat at the table.”
In the writing category, the number of female nominees dipped: In the adapted screenplay category, only one female writer was nominated, Allison Schroeder for “Hidden Figures.” Last year, comparably, there were two female nominees. This year, in the original screenplay category, there are no female nominees.
However, Mica Levy, who composed the score to “Jackie,” became the first woman nominated for Original Score since 2000. And Joi McMillan, became the first African-American woman ever nominated in editing, for “Moonlight.”
After last year’s #OscarSoWhite controversy following the announcement that the Academy had shut out actors of color for the second year in a row, the Academy made major changes to its membership, which included inviting 683 new members.
According to the report, there were more people of color nominated this year than in any other year in Oscar history. This year marks the first time ever that three black actresses have been nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award in the same year: Viola Davis, Naomie Harris and Octavia Spencer.