Oscars: Women Make History With Score Win, Composing Gig

Hildur Guðnadóttir Academy Award - Getty - H 2020
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"To the girls, to the women, to the mothers, to the daughters, who hear the music bubbling within, please speak up," 'Joker' composer Hildur Gudnadóttir said. "We need to hear your voices."

There was no changing the fact that the Academy failed to nominate any women in the directing category this year — something that attendees like Natalie Portman were quick to point out — but on Sunday night, various presenters and winners alike took it upon themselves to mark the 2020 Oscars with messages of empowerment. 

Some were lighthearted, and others more significant. Onscreen superheroes Brie Larson, Sigourney Weaver and Gal Gadot seemingly delivered a mixture of both, first joking about starting a fight club while on stage to present best original score and song.

"Men are all invited, but no shirts allowed," Gadot said, with Larson adding that the winner will get "a lifetime supply of deodorant, sushi and tequila."

Gadot quickly responded, "The loser gets to answer questions from journalists about how it feels to be a woman in Hollywood."

"Kidding aside, we also wanted to stand here together and say that all women are superheroes," Weaver said before announcing that for the first time in the Oscars' 92-year history, a female conductor, Eimear Noone, would be leading the orchestra for the performance of the nominated film scores. 

Weaver, Gadot and Larson were also the ones to give Hildur Gudnadóttir — the first woman to win best original score — her Oscar. After thanking Joker director Todd Phillips and her family members, Gudnadóttir called on women around the world to use their voices and creativity. 

"To the girls, to the women, to the mothers, to the daughters, who hear the music bubbling within, please speak up," she said. "We need to hear your voices."

Earlier in the evening, director Carol Dysinger won the trophy for best short subject documentary for Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You're a Girl), which follows a group of young Afghan girls as they attend a school that teaches them to not only read and write, but skateboard too.

Dysinger used her time on stage alongside producer Elena Andreicheva to pay tribute to the teachers who they encountered during the filmmaking process: "They teach girls courage, to raise your hand, to say, 'I am here. I have something to say. And I'm gonna take that ramp. Don't try to stop me.'"

Comments specifically about the lack of female directing nominees were also made throughout the evening. 

It may seem as though awards ceremonies have only recently taken an increasingly political or activist tone, but the stages at awards shows have long been used as a platform for actors, writers, producers and directors alike to advocate for things they care about.

Just last month, at the 2020 Golden Globes, Michelle Williams delivered a powerful speech that encouraged women to vote in their own self interest, something she said "men have been doing for years." Social media erupted with supportive and appreciative messages, some of which came from Williams' fellow actresses.

The 92nd annual Academy Awards, hostless for the second year in a row, aired live on ABC from the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood and Highland Center in Los Angeles.