The Oscars' Giant Gender Gap Isn't Closing

by Inkoo Kang
February 28, 2014 1:00 PM
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Oscars 2013

Progress is all around us: there are more women than men in college, gay marriage is spreading like wildfire all over America and Europe, and black and Latino and Asian firsts (and seconds and thirds) are arising too quickly too keep track.  

Except, of course, at the Oscars, where things are actually worse than they were twenty years ago. Back when Forrest Gump was anointed Best Picture, there were three male nominees for every female nominee (76% to 24%). This year, there are four male nominees to every female nominee (80% to 20%).

Other signs that most women are still trapped under the "cast-iron ceiling" director Sally Potter spoke about recently, courtesy of Alice Corona at

--From 2008 to 2013, fewer women won statuettes than the historical average.

--The 2011 Oscars recorded only 7% female winners. The lowest percentage of female winners happened in 1947, at 6%.

--Among Cinematography nominees: 86 editions and a total of 631 candidates -- yet no female candidate ever.

--For Directing, only one woman has won: Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker in 2009. In this category, the Academy has only nominated four women out of 463 candidates: Lina Wertmuller (1976), Jane Campion (1993) and Sofia Coppola (2003) and Bigelow.

--For Special/Visual/Engineering Effects, only six female candidates have been nominated out of 635 total nominees. In other words, men comprise 99% of candidates. Only three women have won this category since 1928: Vivian Greenham for The Guns of Navarone (1961), Suzanne Benson for Aliens (1986) and Janek Sirrs for The Matrix (1999).

--Since the Animated Feature Film category has been instituted in 2001, only last year did a woman finally manage to win an award: Brenda Chapman for Brave. Not too surprising, since male candidates in this field have been 93% of the total.

--Excluding the Acting categories, for the 86th Edition of the Academy Awards nominees are 17% women and 83% men.

--This year, there are zero female candidates for 7 out of the 19 categories: Best Cinematography, Best Director, Best Film Editing, Best Music (Original Score), Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Visual Effects.
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More: Awards, Academy Awards

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