A new study finds the number of women Oscar nominees grew only slightly in Academy Awards given for non-acting categories this year — despite a concerted push by women and their allies to achieve greater representation for females in all parts of the film industry. Men represent 77 percent of the nominees for behind-the-scenes roles, according to a report by the Women’s Media Center. The percentage of women barely inched up to 23 percent, from 20 percent last year, in the 19 major non-acting categories that feature writing, editing, producing, and directing roles.
The good news is that many of the high-profile categories did see notable women land nominations, from Rachel Morrison, who made history as the first female cinematographer to receive a nomination in 90 years of Oscars, to Greta Gerwig, the writer and director of Lady Bird who became only the fifth woman nominated for Best Director — the other four being Kathryn Bigelow, the only winner to date for The Hurt Locker, Jane Campion for The Piano, Sofia Coppola for Lost in Translation, and Lina Wertmuller for Seven Beauties. Both Campion and Coppola won Oscars for their screenplays. Dee Rees, nominated for Writing (Adapted Screenplay) for Mudbound, is only the second African-American female writer nominated for writing. (The first was Suzanne de Passe in 1972 for Lady Sings the Blues.)
The 90th Academy Award nominations were unveiled on January 23. Winners will be announced during the telecast on Sunday, March 4, on ABC. Because women gained in some categories but lost in others, the overall percentage of women nominees budged only slightly. Women were represented in every category except score, sound editing, and visual effects. Last year, women were absent in four categories, including directing and cinematography. Overall, men substantially outnumbered women in every category, with costume design being yet again the only category where women were equally represented.
It took a village of activists, from film critics to industry voters, to make those nominations happen. The critically acclaimed Mudbound, written and directed by Dee Rees, did earn multiple nominations in addition to Rachel Morrison’s cinematography nomination. Rees became the first black woman nominated for Writing (Adapted Screenplay), and Mary J. Blige became the first person to have a Best Song and an acting nomination in the same year.
However, there were many films directed by women that were shut out, including the groundbreaking Wonder Woman, directed by Patty Jenkins, which has earned $412 million. Wonder Woman joins a short list of prominent films by women that were completely shut out from the Oscar race this year, including Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroit and Sofia Coppola’s The Beguiled.
For the first time, the awards shows have been focused on gender parity, with Golden Globes attendees wearing black to represent victims of harassment and to signal that “Time’s Up.” The Screen Actors Guild awards showcased only female presenters for the awards and took time out of the telecast to highlight Gerwig’s work and to shed some light on the need for more women directors.
Since the beginning of the #OscarsSoWhite initiative, in which many people threatened to boycott the Oscars because none of the acting categories had people of color for consecutive years, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has said it is committed to changing the demographics in the Academy to be more inclusive. In 2016, the Academy voted to invite more women and people of color to its membership roles. The Academy has pledged to double its number of women and minorities by 2020.
View the statistics below.
Read the full report here.
Take a look at the 2017 Analysis of Gender and Oscar Nominations, as well as the 2016 and 2015 reports.
Learn more about the Women's Media Center, and follow WMC on Facebook and Twitter.
Join the conversation on Twitter: #nywift | @nywift
NYWIFT programs, screenings and events are supported, in part, by grants from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.
Last updated: Mar. 2, 2018