By GIORGINA MCKAY.
The 90th Annual Academy Awards debuted a stunning line-up of Oscar-nominated actors, directors, writers, and producers over the weekend.
A-listers from all walks of life gathered together to celebrate the achievements of their fellow colleagues, family, and friends.
However, there was an underlying inequality that succeeded over the night’s celebrations, and both audiences and presenters were quick to point it out.
Actress Emma Stone was just one of the night’s many celebrity presenters, bestowing the award of ‘Best Director’ to Guillermo Del Toro for his film The Shape of Water.
Emma was all smiles onstage until she decided to take a leaf out of Natalie Portman’s book by introducing the category with “… these four men and Greta Gerwig created their own masterpieces this year.”
At the 75th Annual Golden Globes ceremony earlier this year, Natalie Portman also introduced the ‘Best Director’ category similarly with “… and here are the all-male nominees.”
Emma and Natalie’s comments come in wake of the recent ‘Time’s Up’ movement.
The movement, founded from the Harvey Weinstein scandal, fights to stamp out sexual assault, harassment, and inequality in the workplace.
So then, if Hollywood is going to great lengths to get behind this movement, why is there such an inequality in the ratio of men to women nominated for these awards?
Greta Gerwig, director of the box-office hit Lady Bird, was the only female nominee in the ‘Best Director’ category this year, making her the fifth female to be nominated for this award in the whole of Oscar’s history.
The 90th Academy Awards also welcomed another new first: Rachel Morrison, cinematographer for Mudbound, was the first woman to ever be nominated for show’s ‘Cinematography’ category.
Yet women weren’t entirely snubbed at the Oscars.
A whopping SIX women managed to take home an Oscar: Frances McDormand (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri) for ‘Best Actress’, Allison Janney (I, Tonya) for ‘Best Supporting Actress’, Lucy Sibbick (Darkest Hour) for ‘Best Make-up and Hairstyling’, Kristen Anderson-Lopez (Coco) for ‘Best Original Song’, Rachel Shenton (The Silent Child) for ‘Best Short’, and Darla K Anderson (Coco) for ‘Animated Feature Film’.
By comparison, 33 men won an Oscar in 2018.
Glamour Magazine also investigated this issue, analyzing data from the first Academy Awards in 1928 until now.
They found that not only had only one woman won the ‘Best Director’ award (Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker) in the history of the Oscars, but only 10 per cent of women had been nominated in the combined writing categories all together this year.
Funnily enough, though, women were found to dominate ‘Costume Design’ with most years showcasing an all-female nominated line-up.
This just provides further evidence of how under-represented women are in the media, especially in film and television.
Studies have shown that better representation in the workplace can lead to monumental benefits.
In the case of film and television, incorporating a diverse representation of actors can further audience reach, accumulating profits.
It can also have a positive impact on the industry.
A more diverse cast can improve creativity and productivity, provide a range of new perspectives, improve corporate image and reputation, and can enhance crew morale.
So why won’t Hollywood move towards gender equality?
It’s an age-old problem stemming from the top ranks of the industry.
Films and TV shows are risky investments that require a lot of behind the scenes work from investors, private corporations, professional backers and major studios or networks in order to successfully fund a production.
That’s why Hollywood tends to opt for more male-made material.
‘Successful’ films and shows are stereotypically seen as material that appeals to the white, male audience, follows the lead of other ‘successful’ material, and doesn’t interfere with traditional society’s roles and ideals.
And female writers, directors, and producers apparently just don’t fit those requirements by Hollywood standards.
It is wildly unbelievable to me that in 2018 we are still fighting these same battles, especially when the prominence of ‘Time’s Up’ and ‘#MeToo’ is greater than ever.
Women of all ages, races, sizes, religions, and ethnicities need to be able to see themselves better represented on the screen.
In a time of inequality, conflict, poverty, and war, it is fundamental now more than ever for Hollywood to be taking these much-needed strides.
The point I’m essentially trying to make here, Hollywood, is that if you’re willing to go so far as to carve out an entire section of the Academy Awards, to pay tribute to the ‘Time’s Up’ movement, then you should be more than able to give everyone (male, female, non-binary, trans) a fair go.
Image Source: Time Magazine