Women in Books and Film
It hasn't been a stellar week for women in the arts. Let me be more specific: It’s been a lousy week for female writers and women in the film industry.
Notwithstanding the Oscar that Meryl Streep earned for her depiction of England’s first female prime minister -- a standout, bravura performance from the gold standard of acting, as I was bemoaning on Twitter (@MeredithOBrien) about the dismally boring Oscar show, I was also keeping tabs on tweets from the Women’s Media Center. Their stream of tweets reminded me, as I admired the beautiful gowns the women were wearing, of just how cruddy the state of the film industry is for women right now.
When the organization looked at the list of Oscar nominees in non-gender specific categories they discovered:
- There were six categories in which not a single woman was nominated (directing, cinematography, documentary feature, original score, sound editing and visual effects).
- There were five categories with only ONE female nominee (adapted screenplay, sound mixing, animated feature film, foreign language film and original song).
- Categories where women outnumbered men (costume design, short subject documentary and art direction).
As each category was featured on the Oscar broadcast, the Women’s Media Center published a tweet reporting the grim Academy Awards stats. By the time The Artist was named best picture at the end of the show, a total of only three women had walked away with Oscars in non-gender specific categories (for art direction, documentary short and live action short film).
I suppose this shouldn’t have been surprising in light of the expose that the Los Angeles Times published just before the Academy Awards in which they’d uncovered some interesting demographic info about the 5,765 “voting members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences,” a voter list that’s, apparently, kept secret. The Times discovered that the voters are 94 percent white, 77 percent male and have an average age of 62. “People younger than 50 constitute just 14 percent of the membership,” the paper said. Men control “90 percent of five branches [of the organization’s 15 branches]” and “women make up 19 percent of the academy’s screenwriting branch,” 18 percent of the producers and 9 percent of the directors.