By Melissa Silverstein | Women and Hollywood January 25, 2012 at 11:30AM
Here's her thought process:
We all want to believe that Oscar is “gold” (that is, based on merit), so we begin with that assumption.
But close examination of the Oscar-nomination process reveals that Oscar is in fact “blue” (that is, heavily dependent on male filters).
Therefore most films by &/or about women are eliminated from contention early on, and they very rarely reach the finalist stage.
Films by women have a greater chance of success if they are about men (e.g., The Hurt Locker). Films about women have a greater chance of success if they are by men (e.g., Black Swan).
Films both by & about women are sometimes nominated, but rarely win anything (e.g., Winter’s Bone). The rare exceptions (e.g., Lost in Translation and The Piano both of which won Oscars for Best Original Screenplay) have very strong male characters, whereas films by male filmmakers can win Oscars even if they include no significant female characters (e.g., The Social Network).
Why does this happen, consistently, year-after-year? It happens because most film critics are men, therefore men are disproportionately represented on film festival juries, and in film critic circles (e.g., my own local group – the Chicago Film Critics Association).
With the exception of SAG (the Screen Actors Guild), men are also disproportionately represented in major guilds such as the DGA (the Directors Guild of America), the WGA (the Writers Guild of America) and the PGA (the Producers Guild of America).
Do I think this is conscious or deliberate on the part of male film critics and male guild members? No. I think it’s “second nature.” They like what they like, they consider their own views “the norm,” and they don’t really consider the idea that their own views might be biased.
And so it goes…
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