By now, we all know the deal. The Academy Awards, or The Oscars –one of the most exciting and highly anticipated events of the year has proved yet again to be biased in more ways than one. The nominees are the same every year: mostly white men.
This glaring trend is both out of touch and no longer excusable in an arena that’s becoming increasingly diverse, no longer can The Academy simply say ‘well, there weren’t any qualified diverse candidates.’ Case in point: Ava Duvernay was clearly a prime candidate for the best director category, and yet somehow she was overlooked.
The Women’s Media Center (WMC) reviewed the status of women nominees in the non-acting categories and concluded that there are “more men than women [nominated] in non-acting categories by a margin of 5:1”. The analysis panned out over three years dating back to the Academy Awards nominations of 2012 and displays proof of an obvious gender gap.
Julie Burton, president of the Women’s Media Center stated, “The Women’s Media Center congratulates all Academy Award nominees – it is a great day of recognition for their talent and artistic vision. However, we are concerned that for the fourth year in a row, fewer than one in five of all non-acting nominees are women.”
The gap however shouldn’t be surprising since women are underrepresented in the voting circle. A mere 23 percent of women are within the Oscar’s voting circle, correlating with the little number of Academy awards given to females each year. Further, according to a 2012 study by the LA Times, Oscar voters are “nearly 94 percent caucasian and 77 percent male,” and younger people have little influence as the “voters have a median age of 62”. These unknown, exclusive voters, which hold a very specific demographic, do not represent the diverse demographics of people that they are voting for, as seen through our previous Academy Award winners.
Kathryn Bigelow left an imprint on the film industry by becoming the first female to win an Academy Award for Best Director for Hurt Locker (2008) but, she should not be the only one. We can only hope that the Academy makes room for even more women to make such strides.
On Friday, film academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs spoke to the Associated Press about the widespread criticism. Boone, who is the first black president of the Academy, has said its moved her to accelerate the push for more inclusiveness.
“In the last two years, we’ve made greater strides than we ever have in the past toward becoming a more diverse and inclusive organization through admitting new members and more inclusive classes of members,” Boone Isaacs told the AP. “And, personally, I would love to see and look forward to see a greater cultural diversity among all our nominees in all of our categories.”
In the meantime, all we can do is reflect on the lack of progress thus far. Check out the WMC infographic featuring the nominees for the non-acting categories below.