Oscars: Women Make Small Gains But Still Make up Only a Fraction of Nominees

Miller Mobley
Charlotte Rampling

Women only made up roughly 24 percent of the total pool of nominees. Those shut out of the Oscar race include Amy Schumer, who wrote the original screenplay for 'Trainwreck.'

Gender inequality is one of the most-talked about issues in Hollywood today — just don't tell that to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

While there was an uptick in the number of females nominated Thursday for an Oscar compared to those nominated in the past two years, women still only made up roughly 24 percent of the total pool of nominees. That's up from roughly 21 percent in each of the last two years.

The Oscars have had a terrible track record when it comes to honoring female directors in the coveted best director category, and this year is no exception. Only four women have ever been nominated: Lina Wertmuller for Seven Beauties (1976), Jane Campion for The Piano (1993), Sofia Coppola for Lost in Translation (2003) and Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker (2008). Bigelow was the only one to win. Last year, there was an uproar when Ava DuVernay didn't land a directing nomination for Selma, which was nominated for best picture. This year, while women directors like Sam Taylor-Johnson (Fifty Shades of Grey) and Elizabeth Banks (Pitch Perfect 2) enjoyed success at the box office — which should help doors for other women directors in the future — their movies weren't regarded as potential awards contenders.

And no woman has ever been nominated as best cinematographer.

Female writers, producers, editors, production designers, makeup artists and costume designers have fared better at the Oscars over the years.

This year, Emma Donoghue and Phyllis Nagy were both nominated for best adapted screenplay for Room and Carol, respectively, while Meg LeFauve and Andrea Berloff landed noms in the original screenplay category for Inside Out and Straight Outta Compton, respectively. 

Amy Schumer, however, did not get an Oscar nomination for best original screenplay for Trainwreck. (She received a Golden Globe nomination as comedy actress and the movie also got a Globe nom as best comedy, but her writing, and her original comic voice, wasn't recognized at the Globes, either.) 

Nagy told THR she was encouraged to see female-driven films like Carol and Room recognized, although the former was shut out of the best picture race. "Maybe there's a shift and there is some progress," she said. "As for the Carol best-picture snub, of course, all of the [six] nominations we did get would have been impossible had the film not been so beautifully made."

Female producers nominated Thursday include Dede Gardner (The Big Short), Kristie Macosko (Bridge of Spies), Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey (Brooklyn), Mary Parent (The Revenant), and Nicole Rocklin and Blye Pagon Faust (Spotlight). And the editing category includes Margaret Sixel (Mad Max: Fury Road) and Maryann Brandon and Mary Jo Markey (Star Wars: The Force Awakens).

By THR's count, 215 people were nominated Thursday, including 51 women. That includes female director Deniz Gamze Erguven, whose movie, Mustang, is nominated for best foreign language film, and Diane Warren and Lady Gaga, who are nominated for best original song for "Til It Happens to You" from the documentary The Hunting Ground. Last year, 44 women were nominated out of a total pool of 213; and the year before that, 45 out of a total pool of 220.

Tatiana Siegel contributed to this report.

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