Oscar Awards Gender Study Chloe Zhao Kathryn Bigelow Jane Campion

Oscar Awards Gender Study: Chloe Zhao, Kathryn Bigelow, Jane Campion – Women Directors Write History

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Chloe Zhao at Oscars 2021

“Well,
the
time
has
come,” proclaimed
Barbara
Streisand
as
she
read
the
envelope
containing
the
name
of
the
2010
Oscar
Award
for
Best
Director.
For
the
first
time
in
the
then
81-year
history
of
the
Academy
Awards,
a
woman
had
won
one
of
the
most
important
categories.
A
surprised
Kathryn
Bigelow,
who
beat
James
Cameron
and
Quentin
Tarantino
with
her
film

The
Hurt
Locker
,
picked
up
the
coveted
award.At
the
time,
there
had
only
been
four
female
directors
who
had
actually
been
nominated
in
the
category:
Bigelow
was
preceded
by
Lina
Wertmuller
(1977),
Jane
Campion
(1994)
and
Sofia
Coppola
(2004).

The
2021
Academy
Awards
marked
another
first
in
the
history
of
the
Oscars,
as
two
women

Chloe
Zhao
and
Emerald
Fennell

were
nominated
for
Best
Director
in
the
same
year,
with
Zhao
winning
the
award
for

Nomadland
.
Another
precedent
was
set
this
year,
with
Jane
Campion
becoming
the
first
woman
to
be
nominated
for
the
second
time
as
best
director.

Director Jane Campion

But
are
things
really
changing
at
the
Academy?

“I
hesitate
to
call
this
progress,”
says
Martha
Lauzen,
director
at
the
Center
for
the
Study
of
Women
in
Television
&
Film
at
San
Diego
State
University.
“I
think
it
would
be
more
apt
to
characterize
it
as
surrendering
to
sustained
objections

that
something
is
seriously
amiss
when,
year
after
year,
no
women
are
nominated,”
she
told
DW.
“The
Academy’s
routine
exclusion
of
women
in
one
of
its
most
prestigious
categories
was
simply
no
longer
sustainable
or
justifiable,”
she
added.

The
imbalance
in
the
film
industry

Step
by
step,
women
are
entering
the
male-dominated
areas
of
the
film
industry.
However,
according
to
the
current
Celluloid
Ceiling
Report,
which
has
been
published
annually
for
the
past
24
years
and
examines
the
employment
of
women
in
the
250
top-grossing
US
films,
progress
is
very
slow
and
is
sometimes
stalled.

After
reaching
an
all-time
high
in
2020,
the
proportion
of
female
directors
who
helmed
the
top
250
and
top
100
films
has
declined
in
2021.
The
share
of
women
who
directed
the
250
best
films
fell
from
18%
in
2020
to
17%
in
2021,
and
the
proportion
of
female
directors
for
the
top
100
films
dropped
from
16%
to
12%.

Women
are
also
severely
underrepresented
in
other
film
professions:
In
2021,
94%
of
the
top
250
US
films
were
made
without
female
cinematographers,
92%
of
them
without
female
composers,
82%
without
female
directors,
73%
without
female
editors,
and
72%
without
female
screenwriters.

Oscar Award nominations 2022 by gender


Catch
All
The
Oscar
Buzz
Here

“The
Academy
does
not
exist
in
a
vacuum.
It
reflects
the
attitudes,
predispositions
and
biases
of
the
larger
mainstream
film
community,”
said
Lauzen.
The
biases
disadvantaging
women
include
the
“unfounded
beliefs
that
women
lack
the
necessary
vision
and
drive
to
helm
major
studio
features,
and
that
women
are
uninterested
in
directing
such
features,”
she
added.

The
researcher
also
notes
that
while
studios
and
investors
are
happy
to
“bet
big”
on
male
directorial
up-and-comers,
they
typically
regard
“promising
women
directors”
as
“‘risky
hires.'”
Lauzen
believes
this
bias
advantaged
for
example
filmmaker
Colin
Trevorrow,
who
was
signed
on
to
helm

Jurassic
World

(2015)
after
directing
a
single
independent
feature,

Safety
Not
Guaranteed

(2012).

“As
the
story
goes,
Trevorrow
reminded
Steven
Spielberg
of
his
younger
self,
and
he
hired
him
for
the
job,”
she
said.
“Spielberg
was
willing
to
take
a
chance
on
a
relatively
unproven
director,”
Lauzen
added.
“Women
who
direct
are
much
less
likely
to
benefit
from
this
sort
of
implicit
bias.”

A
turning
point
for
women?

In
recent
years,
the
lack
of
diversity
in
Hollywood’s
highest
film
awards
has
been
in
the
spotlight,
with
hashtags
such
as
#OscarsSoMale
and
#OscarsSoWhite
condemning
the
marginalization
of
female
and
minority
filmmaking
talent.
Diversityhas
long
been
a
popular
buzzword
in
the
film
scene,
but
actual
reforms
in
the
Academy
were
made
in
reaction
to
the
#MeToo
and
Black
Lives
Matter
movements.

The
number
of
women
on
the
Board
of
Governors,
who
decide
on
the
Oscar
winners,
was
increased
from
26
to
31,
out
of
a
total
of
54
members.
Reforms
were
also
announced
in
the
best
film
category.
To
be
nominated,
films
must
meet
at
least
two
of
four
diversity
benchmarks,
which
include
featuring
actors
from
underrepresented
groups
in
lead
roles
or
at
least
30%
of
the
cast.
Similar
criteria
applies
in
the
production
and
creative
teams.

Best international film Oscar winners by continent DW Photo

The
topic
of
the
film
also
receives
diversity
points
when
the
story
centres
on
women,
LGTBQ
people,
minority
groups
or
the
disabled.
The
Academy
is
also
searching
for
ways
to
open
the
awards
ceremony
to
the
public
due
to
a
drastic
drop
in
viewer
numbers.
Only
around
10
million
people
watched
the
Oscar
Awards
2021
event

less
than
half
of
the
TV
viewers
of
2020.
Now
the
organizers
of
the
Oscars
have
introduced
an
audience
award
that
film
fans
can
vote
for
on
the
internet.

The
film
industry
in
Germany

In
Germany,
too,
the
challenges
facing
women
in
the
film
industry
and
necessary
reforms
have
long
been
debated.
Even
though
significantly
more
female
graduates
come
out
of
film
schools,
the
male
graduates
end
up
with
an
overwhelming
majority
of
the
top
industry
jobs.

“Even
though
it
is
now
somewhat
more
common
to
have
female
directors
than
a
few
years
ago,
they
still
have
to
overcome
significantly
more
hurdles
than
their
male
colleagues,”
said
Sarah
Duve-Schmid,
deputy
chairwoman
of
the
Board
of
Management
and
Head
of
Funding
at
the
German
Federal
Film
Board
(FFA).

“Perseverance,
assertiveness
and
flexibility
are
among
the
success
factors
in
directing,
and
men
are
still
more
likely
to
have
access
to
this
than
women,”
she
added.

The
film
industry’s
high
workload,
long
absences
from
home,
but
also
a
frequent
lack
of
childcare
infrastructures
and
poorer
pay,
are
factors
that
still
lead
women
to
temporarily
leave
their
jobs
after
film
school

or
move
on
to
a
different
career
path
altogether,
notes
Duve-Schmid.

grads vs pros in films gender wise

More
recently,
films
made
by
women
have
garnered
greater
recognition
in
Germany
due
to
a
new
sensitivity
to
the
issue
of
equality,
according
to
Duve-Schmid.

“As
far
as
the
funding
of
projects
directed
by
women
is
concerned,
the
FFA
regularly
monitors
the
projects
submitted
and
funding
commitments,:
she
explained.
“Over
the
past
years,
there
have
been
significantly
more
applications
for
projects
with
female
directors;
reformed
structures
will
hopefully
allow
many
more
women
to
claim
their
place
in
the
industry.”

This
article
was
originally
written
in
German.


DW

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