Women make up just one-in-five Oscar nominees

Excluding the gendered acting categories, female filmmakers remain overlooked by the Academy

Women make up just one-in-five Oscar nominees

James Cameron pretends to throttle his ex-wife Kathryn Bigelow on the night she beat him, becoming the first female 'Best Director' at the Oscars [AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File]

While the 2017 Academy Awards have been widely praised for having a greater racial diversity in its acting categories than in recent years, the lack of gender balance across the remaining nominees is becoming a bigger issue – as the number of female nominees has dropped to just 20%.

According to analysis by the Women’s Media Center, 80% of all non-acting nominees across 19 categories are men, with no female filmmakers making up the numbers in such major categories as ‘Best Director’, ‘Best Cinematography’, and ‘Best Original Screenplay’.

In fact, across the 10 films nominated for writing, only one female screenwriter has received a nomination, with Allison Schroeder taking the honour for her work on the NASA race drama Hidden Figures.

Small steps in the right direction

But 2017 was not without some breakthroughs, with Mica Levi becoming the first female composer nominated for ‘Best Score’ in 16 years for Jackie, and Joi McMillan becoming the first black woman ever nominated for editing for her work on Moonlight.

While 20% represents a two-point fall from 2016, it is actually marginally more than the average between 2005 and 2016, when just 19% of the non-acting Oscars nominations went to women.

Founded by Oscar-winner Jane Fonda, writer Robin Morgan, and feminist activist Gloria Steinem, the Women’s Media Center is a nonprofit that works to improve the representation of women in media. Its research comes not long after the so-called Celluloid Ceiling report found that female directors made up just 7% of those who helmed the 20 top-grossing films of 2016.

Female filmmakers aren't at the table

The annual report also found that out of the 500 most successful films at the box office last year, 175 titles did not employ a single woman as director, writer, producer, executive producer, editor, or cinematographer.

The Women’s Media Center says its research goes hand in hand with the annual Celluloid Ceiling report produced by the Center for the Study of Women in Television & Film.

“Clearly, women cannot get through the door and if they cannot get through the door, they cannot be recognised and rewarded for their excellence and impact,” said Julie Burton, president of The Women’s Media Center.

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