Through Her Eyes: A Female Look at the Academy Awards


Eighty Nine years ago, the tampon applicator, sunglasses, and the eyelash curler were designed. Do you know what else was created 89 years ago? The Academy Awards! That’s right May 16th, 1929 was the first Academy Awards in history. The awards only had 12 categories like best picture, best actor, best actress, and best cinematographer. The 2018 Academy Awards have 24 categories. Every year the Academy Awards makes motion picture and live television history. From accidently reading the wrong winner to a man streaking nude during the hosts' dialogue. Even though this years Academy Awards isn’t until March, it’s already made history. Specifically in the best cinematography category.

On Tuesday, January 23rd, the Academy nominations were announced. Roger Deakins, Bruno Delbonnel, Hoyte van Hoytema, Dan Lausten, and Rachel Morrison were honored for best cinematography. You may be asking why is this category so important? Well, Rachel Morrison is the first women to be nominated for best cinematography in Academy Awards or Oscar history! That is correct. No woman since 1929 has ever been nominated for her camera work in film. Morrison was nominated for  the Netflix movie, Mudbound.

But here is a question for you: Why did it take this long for a woman to be nominated? When the film industry was first established, it was believed that women didn’t have the strength to work a 35mm movie camera. We know today that reasoning was flawed. Truthfully, it was a male dominated field. Women can handle any equipment. Morrison usually shoots on big film cameras but because of budget concerns, used a digital camera. Today we even live in an age where cameras are becoming lightweight and portable. In fact, we have two cameras on our smartphones. 

 In 2015, the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) reported that only 4% of ASC’s members are women. Even in television, only 2% of Emmy nominations have gone to women for best cinematography. So why haven’t we seen more women behind the camera? Is it because women haven’t been given a chance? Is it because of the status quo of men running the film industry for decades?

Well Rachel Morrison has worked hard to get herself that Oscar nomination. She is even the cinematographer behind the next marvel blockbuster, Black Panther. She has proven to the world that she has the strength to function a movie camera just like the boys. And maybe, on  March 4th 2018, she will stand on the Academy Awards stage and receive an Oscar for the girls.