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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Stony Brook chapter.

The Oscars, or Academy Awards, are a major set of awards for the film industry which will air on February 24th. Viewers watch to see which films and actors will win for each category and if the awards will go to their favorites. Unfortunately, though, women have consistently been left out of Oscar Nominations since the origination of the awards. Yet, through the years, an increasing number of women have emerged as directors, producers, screenwriters, and other roles in Hollywood. So why are so few women getting awards in nonacting categories?

There have only been five women nominated for Best Director in Oscars history. Only one woman has won the award: Kathryn Bigelow in 2010 for “The Hurt Locker.” In 2019, zero women have been nominated for the category, but it’s not for a lack of options. Find a list of 29 movies directed by women in 2018 here.

Last year, the first ever woman was nominated in the Cinematography category: Rachel Morrison for “Mudbound.” This year, women were shut out of the category, and Morrison surprisingly did not get nominated for her work on “Black Panther.” Cinematography, which involves directing the camerawork, is a major part of making a film, and it’s a shame that only one woman in the industry has been nominated for her work. Find a list of woman cinematographers here.

Another major role in filmmaking is that of the film editor. Film editing involves heavy work with digital technology and actualizes the artistic vision of a film. All five nominees in the category for 2019 are men. Only thirteen women in Oscars history have won the award. Read more about woman film editors here.

The two screenplay categories each see a nomination for a woman this year. In the Original Screenplay category, out of eight nominees, seven are men, making the percentage of women nominated just 12.5% with Deborah Davis for “The Favourite.” In the Adapted Screenplay category, out of twelve nominees, eleven are men, making the percentage of women nominated 8% with Nicole Holofcener for “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”

In the Best Picture category, eight films are nominated, four of which have at least one woman producer. A total of twenty-five producers are nominated in the category, and five are women: Ceci Dempsey and Lee Magiday for “The Favourite,” Gabriela Rodríguez for “Roma,” Lynette Howell Taylor for “A Star is Born,” and Dede Gardner for “Vice.” This is a seven percent drop from 2018 and a ten percent drop from 2017. Only three of the eight nominated films have female-driven stories (“A Star is Born,” “The Favourite,” “Roma”).

In total, women received 25% of the 2019 nominations for nonacting categories. While the number has increased compared to previous years, it’s only inching up, and is extremely discouraging for aspiring women in the film industry. There are plenty of deserving women in each category, but a culture of inadvertent sexism and a failure to boost women’s projects prevents them from being recognized. This year’s nominations only show how far women have to go to achieve gender parity. We can only work harder and hope to see Academy Awards that are not completely dominated by men in the near future. In the meantime, do your best to support women in film and their movies!


Source: Women’s Media Center Investigation 2019 Gender and Non-Acting Oscar Nominations Full Report. Women’s Media Center is “a progressive, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to raise the visibility, viability and decision-making power of women and girls in media and, thereby, ensuring that their stories get told and their voices are heard” founded by Jane Fonda, Robin Morgan and Gloria Steinem.



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Julie Truncali

Stony Brook '21

Stony Brook University Class of 2021 Civil Engineering Major New York Farm Girl
Dorothy Mai

Stony Brook '19