Oscars: Women Accounted for 19 Percent of Non-Acting Nominations Over Past 10 Years (Study)

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Kathryn Bigelow

The women's media center concluded that men dominate the categories that represent the most influential roles in filmmaking.

Amid the ongoing discussion about diversity (or the lack thereof) among Oscar nominations, the Women's Media Center released a study Thursday that found that over the past 10 years, women accounted for just 19 percent of all non-acting Oscar nominations.

The WMC concludes that men dominate the categories that represent the most influential roles in filmmaking, those with the highest levels of decision-making power. Notably, the cinematography category has never nominated a woman. The review shows that women are better represented in the visual design categories, including costume design and production design. They are also more strongly represented in the short film and documentary feature categories.

Using data from Oscars.com, WMC examined 19 nomination categories: best picture; directing; writing (original screenplay); writing (adapted screenplay); film editing; cinematography; production design; costume design; makeup; hairstyling; original score; original song; documentary feature; documentary short subject; sound mixing; sound editing; visual effects; animated feature; and short film (live action).

A further breakdown reveals significant underrepresentation of female nominees in the high-profile categories of best picture, best directing, best original screenplay, best adapted screenplay and film editing.

Best picture: From 2006 to 2015, female producers accounted for 24 percent of the nominees for the best picture award. While the percentage of female nominees in this category doubled in these 10 years, WMC notes that the progress "has been unsteady."

Best directing: Only one woman, Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker), was nominated for the directing award in the past decade. Bigelow won the Oscar that year as well.

Best original screenplay and adapted screenplay categories: Female nominees accounted for 13 percent of the total nominations for writing between 2006 and 2015. In 2015, women earned a total of four nominations in the writing categories, tying 2007's all-time high record.

Film Editing: Women earned only 17 percent of the nominations from the past decade for editing.

"There is a clear connection between the low numbers of women hired for behind-the-scenes jobs in film and women's low representation among Oscar nominees," WMC president, Julie Burton, said in a statement accompanying the release of the findings. "If they're not hired in these non-acting categories, they'll never have a chance to be recognized for their excellence. Research by the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film shows that of the 250 top-grossing films of 2015, women were 9 percent of directors, 11 percent of writers, 20 percent of executive producers, 26 percent of producers, 22 percent of editors and only 6 percent of cinematographers. If more women were hired as writers, directors, editors and producers, the talent pool for nominations would be more reflective of the overall population and audience — more than half of which are women."

Read the full report here.

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