It’s Oscar season again and even though the winners haven’t actually been announced yet, tongues are already wagging about the nominees.
The Hollywood Reporter has a bee in its bonnet because women make up only 24% of the total amount of nominees this year, including Amy Schumer who wrote the original screenplay for ‘Trainwreck’.
Gender inequality is one of the controversial topics of discussion in Hollywood today, with the Oscars not really having a reputation for honouring female directors in the Best Director category, just four women having been nominated in the award’s history – and only one ever winning it.
And as well as that, says the Reporter, no woman has ever been nominated as best cinematographer at the event.
'2016 is a good year for women'
However, it’s better news for female writers, producers, editors, production designers, makeup artists and costume designers who haven’t done too badly at the Oscars over the years.
Actually, 2016 is a good year for women, because this year saw more nominations across the board in comparison to last year.
Last year, the Academy was accused of seemingly ‘forgetting’ movies that starred female characters, and the women who made them.
Indiewire called last year’s Oscar nomination announcements ‘a dark day for Hollywood’, while the Los Angeles Daily News wrote a piece entitled ‘The 2015 Oscar nominations in two words: ‘Racist’ and ‘Sexist’.’
You might think that as the years go by, women would feature more heavily in the Oscars, but as one website pointed out, last year, out of the nine Best Picture nominees — Birdman, Boyhood, Selma, American Sniper, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Imitation Game, The Theory of Everything, and Whiplash — not one was a female-focused story.
And, at risk of potentially splitting hairs, seven of the eight Best Picture nominees were about a white man dealing with internal conflict.
This year though, three of the eight films nominated this year for Best Picture, which are Brooklyn, Mad Max: Fury Road, and Room, are about women portraying diverse, well-rounded female characters.
Fifty-one out of 215 people nominated in the 2016 Oscars were women.
Last year it was 44 women out of 213 people, and the year before that, 45 out of a total pool of 220.
So it looks like things are improving – albeit slightly.
Some of the most famous Hollywood legends who never received that coveted Oscar:
- Marlene Dietrich – Despite giving stellar performances in films like The Blue Angel, Shanghai Express, Blonde Venus, The Scarlet Empress, A Foreign Affair, Touch of Evil, Judgment at Nuremberg and Witness for the Prosecution, Marlene never managed to get that Oscar nod and only had one sole nomination for Morocco.
- Judy Garland – Although Judy received a special juvenile performance Oscar in 1939 for The Wizard of Oz, she never won a competitive award.
- Jean Harlow may have won an Oscar at some point in her career had she not sadly died of renal failure aged just 26.
- Marilyn Monroe – Despite being a talented actress who starred in countless popular movies, Marilyn Monroe was better known for her troubled personal life which doesn’t help win Oscars. She won a Golden Globe for Some Like it Hot but didn’t receive a nomination at the Academy Awards and died only three years later.
- Barbara Stanwyck – Starring in Stella Dallas, Ball of Fire and The Miracle Woman all helped cement Barbara as one of Hollywood’s most powerful actresses but she never got past the nomination stage. She was given an honorary Oscar in 1982.