With the recent ceremony for the 78th Golden Globes and 2021 Oscar nominations, it appears that Hollywood is finally recognizing female talent both in front of and behind the camera. The Oscars, presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, is also the most diverse it’s ever been in the last decade, or even in its entire history. This year, we have two female directors nominated for best director and best picture, we have the first Muslim actor in a leading role (Riz Amend) nominated, we also have the first Asian American man in a leading role nominated (Steven Yeun). This year’s nominations are strikingly different from the years prior as nominations were heavily filled dominant with nominations of white men. I am not saying, that the men nominated for awards were any less deserving. It just becomes disheartening to not see yourself valued not only in front of the camera but behind it as well. Everything that has been great for women in 2020/2021 can possibly be linked to a particular moment in Hollywood’s history that exposed a gross power dynamic that bred inequality to the highest degree.
In late 2017, women started coming forward with sexual assault and sexual harassment allegations against the former Hollywood producer, Harvey Weinstein and many others that followed. The allegations were nothing but disguising and skin-crawling to read about. To think that one man had the power to change the outcome of many women’s careers is terrifying.
So, the following year many attendees of the 75th Golden Globes wore their #TimesUp pin on the red carpet in solidarity with the women coming forward against abusers in Hollywood who had gone unchecked for decades. A movement that helped victims gain their voice back and fight against their past abusers. What makes this moment so important is that it highlighted the power-dynamic that clearly favoured one group of individuals over another and showed how Hollywood elites were not who they said they were. To say that women’s chances of being successful without a man’s intervention in the film industry would be an ignorant statement to make. This movement struck a chord with not only audiences who started to re-evaluate behaviour, but also with some of the biggest companies and names in Hollywood as well.
Change does not happen overnight, but the #Metoo movement was a great start. Prior to the Metoo Movement, just looking at female recognition/representation in Hollywood it was lacklustre. It is not as though there has not been a female director worthy enough to be nominated, which include Greta Gerwig in 2018 with Ladybird and Ava DuVernay in 2015 with Selma, two great films whom either got snubbed or merely lost. It took eight years for another woman aside from Kathrine Biggolo to be nominated for Best Director, which as stated above, clearly there is excellent talent out in Hollywood yet it was not being rewarded. In the 92 years since the Academy started only five women have ever been nominated (now it’s seven with the 2021 nominations) for best director. For two women directors to be nominated for women-driven movies gives me an optimistic view on the film industry as a whole that finally a different perspective can be rewarded.
Surely, Hollywood still has issues it needs to address and solve, but it appears as though action is happening. Representation matters in movies because no one ever should be denied the opportunity to not only see themselves in someone on screen through a story, but they should be able to see themselves behind the camera.