2013 Academy Awards or „Men giving awards to other men for making movies about men“

If you missed it, the Academy Awards were yesterday. Since this is the most prestigious award show we have, it is good to analyse who wins, and what wins. First, I will give you the statistics on who was rewarded, and then, if the movies had a male or female protagonist. Not surprisingly, a majority of the Oscars were given to white men. But this should be a surprise! It should be outrageous that the film industry is still this unequal, that all nominated for best directing are male, and that only a handful of the winning movies are told from a female perspective.

So, let’s start with the winners.

Best Picture ♂♂♂
Argo: Grant Heslov, Ben Affleck and George Clooney, Producers

Animated Feature Film ♂♀
Brave: Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman

Cinematography ♂
Life of Pi: Claudio Miranda

Costume Design ♀
Anna Karenina: Jacqueline Durran

Directing ♂
Life of Pi: Ang Lee

Documentary Feature ♂♂
Searching for Sugar Man: Malik Bendjelloul and Simon Chinn

Documentary Short ♂♀
Inocente: Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine

Film Editing ♂
Argo: William Goldenberg

Foreign Language Film ♂
Amour: Margaret Menegoz, Stefan Arndt, Veit Heiduschka and Michael Katz

Make-up and Hairstyling ♀♀
Les Misérables: Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnell

Music, original score ♂
Life of Pi: Mychael Danna

Music original song ♂♀
„Skyfall“ from Skyfall, Music and Lyric by Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth

Production Design ♂♂
Lincoln Rick Carter (Production Design); Jim Erickson (Set Decoration)

Short Film Animated ♂
Paperman: John Kahrs

Short Film Live-action ♂
Curfew: Shawn Christensen

Sound Editing ♂♂♀
Zero Dark Thirty: Paul N.J. Ottosson
Skyfall: Per Hallberg and Karen Baker Landers

Sound Mixing ♂♂♂
Les Misérables: Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson and Simon Hayes

Visual Effects ♂♂♂♂
Life of Pi: Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan De Boer and Donald R. Elliott

Writing Adapted Screenplay ♂
Argo: Chris Terrio

Writing Original Screenplay ♂
Django Unchained: Quentin Tarantino

Score (oscars shared between three or more is counted by majority, and oscars shared between a man and a woman gets a point in each row)
♂♂♂♂♂♂♂♂♂♂♂♂♂♂♂♂♂ (17)
♀♀♀♀♀ (5)

Score (individuals)
♂♂♂♂♂♂♂♂♂♂♂♂♂♂♂♂♂♂♂♂♂♂♂♂♂♂♂♂♂♂ (30)
♀♀♀♀♀♀♀♀ (8)

I have only counted the names mentioned on the academy awards official homepage, and not counted best actor, best actress, best supporting actor and best supporting actress since those are already gendered.

Next test: Is the main protagonist/main actor or actress/narrator of the movie male or female?

Best Picture


Silver Linings Playbook:

Actor (supporting)
Django Unchained:

Actress (supporting)
Les Misérables:

Animated Feature Film
Brave: ♀

Life of Pi:

Costume Design
Anna Karenina: ♀

Life of Pi:

Documentary Feature
Searching for Sugar Man:

Documentary Short
Inocente: ♀

Film Editing

Foreign Language Film
Amour: ♀

Make-up and Hairstyling
Les Misérables:

Music, original score
Life of Pi:

Music original song

Production Design

Short Film Animated

Short Film Live-action

Sound Editing
Zero Dark Thirty: ♀

Sound Mixing
Les Misérables:

Visual Effects
Life of Pi:

Writing Adapted Screenplay

Writing Original Screenplay
Django Unchained:

♂ (21)
♀♀♀♀♀ (5)

Why is this important?
Statistics like these have to be made to make obvious how systematically sexist the film industry in general, and Hollywood in particular, really is. This is a huge problem, because media does not only reflect the society we live in, it also shapes it. This is not just the Academy Awards. This is every award show and every film festival.

I ask you to try it out, to check how many bands are male dominated on the next festival you go to, to really see the top candidates of your political party, and count how many movies in the current cinema scedule are directed by men. If half of the population is female, why are the statistics like this? Why do we need feminism again?

Also I can’t write this entry without mentioning the boob song. Let’s puke in unison.

7 Kommentare

  1. ned to sort my thoughts, but first 2cents: i do think that stereotypes are rather relevant before the voting begins than during it.
    and secondly, it would be a really tough job decing why the movies made/nominated are so bad in portraying women as main characters or equally important. are there not enough female heroes to tell about? are directors biased? is it a bad year?
    p.s. the song is shocking

    1. Since only one woman has got an oscar for best directing since they started 85 years ago, I don’t think we can blame it on the year. I believe it is a mix between women having a hard time to make it in film industry (look what happened to the original director of Brave), so more movies are actually made by men, and the academy awards being chosen by men. To say that there wouldn’t be enough of women to tell about would be ridiculous.
      The academy awards being handed out to mostly menis the result of a sexist system.

  2. i was talking more about the characters than the directors when I mentioned the possibly bad year. of course i do agree that living in a sexist world movies are only by degrees different than the rest of life, which is a shame, since one could actually make up a world of equal opportunities etc. there.
    I am a fan of looking at cases though, lets say take the most popular movies of a year and try to break down why and how women are not treated in a fair way. im not in a position to say why brenda chapman was fired, and can only guess that theres far fewer women with voting rights. in my few the voting isnt the problem though, it is the stereotypes getting the jobs and the lack of strong female characters in movies that are the biggest problems.
    in the latter regard, im sceptical about counting the biological sex of maincharacters even, it should be about more. how is one to view for example the work of quentin tarantino from a genderperspective? in an episode of „seinfeld“ jerry and george are writing the pilot, and write out elaine, because they cannot imagine what a woman would say. of course thats for comic purpose and extreme, but i wonder how many men really have difficulties in writing for women, or actually think about it. (spielberg comes to mind) on the other hand, J.K rowling described harry potter being a boy just as the way he „came to her“.

    1. So if I’m reading you right, you wish that I’d make more analysis and case-studies instead of an overview?
      I’m all for in-dept analyses as well! But I also think numbers like these speak volumes, because you simply can’t ignore the fact that more than three times as many men as women got an oscar. Anyone can look it up and see that it is true and they have to ask themselves why this is. Analyses of certain characters and certain movies also serve a great purpose, but they can easily be dismissed as just some feminist getting picky about something or whatever, or, be read as only a case-thing, whereas a gendered overview of something simple like this show how big the problem is.

      1. yeah, basically my opinion is, that we might get a deeper understanding why the situation is like it is, and what can be done about it. like, how many movies deal with historic stuff, and how do they follow/change genderroles of the times. what is the influence of directors, producers. how can we take into account strong supporting characters and main characters that are female but portrayed in a sexist way?
        just had a look at blogs on the issue in the previous years, and it is indeed devastating, even though it improved over the years.anyways, thnx for the article, hope your strategy works out.

  3. I do think is good idea to make an overview like this and where is the case then analyse just to see if the rule applies…

    The world IS very much sexist and many dont even realize actually. and not only abt that – i usually bump into people which chose other people which are quite similar to them (seems to be quite normal, we all do it ..). so is no surprise that males chose other males or that most of the male directors make movies abt male heroes. would be interesting where this doesnt apply: how many and which male directors made a good film abt a female heroe?

    And of course is hard for the women to get in this business (like in many others): they must show muuuch strongness and influence and much talent (and not that kind of talent….) to be taken serious and they have no god damn time cause they have to take care of their looks, make up and fashion all the time!!! No more women in the kitchen but women in the shops! :( I think in our times only exceptional women or women in exceptional situations could make it a little bit… and very few of these men are exceptional or have been through exceptional situations… Is NOT FAIR… But i guess we always have to carry our past with us and for women thats a burden..

Kommentare sind geschlossen.