Women Shunned by Oscars as Men Make Up 80% of Nominees (Study)

Oscars Shun Women, Men Make Up
Courtesy of Netflix

A debate about diversity has roiled the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the group that hands out the Oscars every year. For two straight years, the awards body was slammed for failing to nominate minorities in the major acting categories. When nominations were announced last week, however, it seemed like this year’s crop of honorees were a more inclusive bunch. Seven out of the 20 acting nominees were people of color, tying a record set in 2007. It was a group that included Octavia Spencer, Denzel Washington, and Viola Davis, with the best picture nominees boasting three films — “Moonlight,” “Hidden Figures,” and “Fences” — that deal with the subject of race.

That kind of progress didn’t extend to women in non-acting categories. The number of female Oscar nominees dropped two percentage points, according to an analysis by the Women’s Media Center. No female directors were nominated and only one female screenwriter, Allison Schroeder, was recognized for her work — co-authoring the “Hidden Figures” script. In total, 80% of all non-acting nominees across 19 categories were men, and some major categories, such as cinematography and original screenplay, contained no female honorees.

Historically, the Academy’s track record is a spotty one. From 2005 to 2016, women accounted for just 19% of all non-acting Oscar nominations, the group found.

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The Women’s Media Center is a nonprofit organization founded by actress Jane Fonda, writer Robin Morgan, and political activist Gloria Steinem with the goal of improving the representation of and opportunities for women in media. Its findings come on the heels of a report this month by the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film that found that women comprised just 7% of all directors working on the 250 highest-grossing domestic releases last year. That represented a decline of two percentage points from 2015. The report also found that women made up only 17% of all directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors, and cinematographers working on the highest grossing films of 2016. The Women’s Media Center drew a line between that lack of representation in the industry and the paucity of female nominees.

“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,” said Julie Burton, president of the Women’s Media Center, in a statement.

When it comes to the Oscars, there were a few signs of improvement. Nine women were nominated as producers in the best picture category, the most nominations for women in any category, and Ava DuVernay directed “13th,” a look at the mass incarceration of African Americans, to a best documentary nomination. Other breakthroughs included Mica Levi, who became the first woman nominated for original score in 16 years with “Jackie,” and Joi McMillan, who became the first African American woman ever nominated in editing for her work on “Moonlight.”

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  1. Brenda says:

    Need to get rid of award shows until the narcissistic-cupcake generation dies off.

  2. Charlotte says:

    I agree: We need more women directing, producing, writing, editing, scoring, designing & shooting features. But when we only have about 5-15 % of female professionals working in these fields worldwide, then 20% or 19% of all non-acting Oscar nominations is not that bad, is it ? I mean, the Academy can’t nominate women for things they didn’t do, right? This whole article is misguided because it tries to blame an institution that clearly supports women, but the REAL PROBLEM IS IN THE INDUSTRY, NOT AT THE OSCARS. There are many reasons, why so many female film school graduates don’t make it later & the young women need support at that early stage of their career, not at the Oscars. Thanks.

  3. Charlotte says:

    I agree: We need more women directing, producing, writing, editing & shooting features. But when we only have about 5-15 % of female professionals working in these fields worldwide, then 20% or 19% of all non-acting Oscar nominations is not that bad, is it ? I mean, the Academy can’t nominate women for things they didn’t do, right? This whole article is misguided because it tries to blame an institution that clearly supports women, but the REAL PROBLEM IS IN THE INDUSTRY, NOT AT THE OSCARS. There are many reasons, why so many female film school graduates don’t make it later & the young women need support at that early stage of their career, not at the Oscars. Thanks.

  4. Charlotte says:

    I agree: We need more women directing, producing, writing, editing & shooting features. But when we only have about 5-15 % go women working professionally in these fields worldwide, then 20% or 19% of all non-acting Oscar nominations is not that bad, is it ? I mean, the Academy can’t nominated women for things they didn’t do, right? This whole article is misguided because it tries to blame an institution that clearly supports women, but the REAL PROBLEM IS IN THE INDUSTRY, NOT AT THE OSCARS. There are many reasons, why so many female film school graduates don’t make it later & the women need support at that early stage of their career, not at the Oscars.

  5. Brenda says:

    Blacks cried they’d been shunned, so the award shows nervously jumped through hoops to nominated more people of color – whether earned or not; now black women crabbing that women are shunned. It’s an award you morons – SOMEBODY will win, and the others will be as you say, “shunned.” They need to have an award show for the most obnoxious cry babies.

  6. Richard says:

    Yes we need more diversity but let it be real diversity Hispanics make up a larger share of the population 16% vs 12% for blacks but their presence is barely felt in casting and awards yet alone among the behind the screen jobs. Black acting nominees make up almost 1/3 of the nominations and 1 other minority, where is the outcry that other minority stories and talents are not being recognized, it truly baffles me that this is only seen as a black and white issue.
    I am not sure how many people beside white men are actually seeking jobs behind the camera, I do know the academy is doing outreach but if 80% of the jobs are being filled by white men that is the pool you have to draw nominations from and that will take years to correct.

  7. mjweir says:

    Dev Patel is caucasian. I guess he’s a person of color since even white is a color. But every variation of White is not some new race. Get your facts (or your terminology) straight before you say something like this. It makes you look like stupid.

  8. Marie says:

    Translation: We know diversity is happening but it’s not happening fast enough. So we need to complain more.

    • Brenda says:

      Rather than complaining and barking to the wind, if women and minorities want to play a bigger role – no one is stopping them from doing the WORK, and actually earning their reward.

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