Friday, February 24, 2012

Where are the women, Mr. Oscar?

Yet again, another Oscars approaches with an incredible dearth of women where it matters most.

Some amazing women are nominated as "best actress" and "best supporting actress," and some of their roles this year broke new ground, as feminist (and member of the academy) Marlo Thomas writes in The Huffington Post (although, oddly, most of the photos in the accompanying slide show are of men!).

It's time we take over the movies
from the men!!
In spite of a few good roles, however, women and people of color continue to be poorly represented in most of the movies nominated this year. According to a new USC Annenberg study that analyzed Best Picture Oscar contenders from 1977 to 2010, only 32.6 percent of speaking characters have been female, which comes out to 2.1 males to every one female. Only 14.3 percent of directors were female. In addition, 78 percent of speaking characters are white (11.6 were black and 1.9 Latino).

The men who make the movies always seem surprised when a female-dominated movie, such as "Bridesmaids," does well at the box office. Why are they so surprised? We want to see more than romances--we want to see real women on film!

In 84 years only four women directors have been nominated for Oscars--and only one has won. Check out this enlightening video of the films that missed getting nominated this year...there's a list below the video, in case you want to check them out (like I will do!). Let's support female writers and directors and demand better roles for women in the movies!

Pariah, written and directed by Dee Rees

We Need to Talk about Kevin, co-written and directed by Lynne Ramsay

Circumstance, written and directed by Maryam Keshavarz

Higher Ground, directed by Vera Farmiga

The Future, written and directed by Miranda July

I Will Follow, written and directed by Ava DuVernay

Meek's Cutoff, directed by Kelly Reichardt

In the Land of Blood and Honey, written and directed by Angelina Jolie

The Whistleblower, directed by Larysa Kondracki


  1. What a sad commentary on the film industry. I used to follow the Oscars religiously, but no more. Maybe subconsciously it has something to do with the overlooked work of women. Nice and enlightening post, Marie.

  2. Thanks, Susan! I forgot to note that I first saw this video on Geena Davis' Facebook feed. She is doing some amazing work regarding gender equality in the industry!