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Women Who are Dominating the Entertainment Industry

The entertainment industry is one of the largest industries in the world, including film, TV, and everything in between. However, when it comes to being recognized, men always seem to have the upper hand. Last year, Deadline reported that only 30% of non-acting related Oscar nominations went to women: “Of the 186 total nominees, 56 [were] women and 130 were men” (Robb). If you think this sounds low, you would be more surprised to see that the 2020 Oscar nominations included more women than previous years, bringing the number of female nominations up 25% (so if we’re at 30%, remove 25% to get 2019’s total, you can do that math). We can also identify this when looking at the Golden Globes. This year, 3 women were nominated for best director, and while this is phenomenal, only 5 other women have been nominated for this award in the 77 years that Golden Globes has been on TV (BBC). While this shows that we are still far away from becoming truly recognized in the entertainment industry, we can take this time to reflect on the past and present women who are dominating the entertainment industry today!


Shonda Rhimes

While you may not know this legendary woman just by hearing her name, she is the woman behind a lot of your favourite TV content. Shonda Rhimes is a TV producer, who has produced multiple TV hits, including Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder, and most recently, Netflix’s latest hit Bridgerton, which is now the biggest series on Netflix after being watched by 82 million people (Daniels). All of these shows are produced under Shonda’s production company known as Shondaland, where Shonda is a showrunner for the majority of the content (which consists of roles such as creator, head writer, and executive producer). While Shonda has received awards from the Writers & Producers Guild of America, the NAACP Image Awards, GLAAD, & Glamour, Shonda has not yet been recognized for her work at the Golden Globes and has only been nominated for 2 Primetime Emmy Awards back in 2007. All of the shows I also previously mentioned have received a total of 3 Golden Globe and 6 Emmy nominations. While the awards they have received and been nominated for are amazing, it is very shocking to see the lack of nominations that Shonda receives, and I hope that this changes when her latest hit joins the awards lineup.


Lily Singh

There have been very few women involved in late-night TV. Some of these iconic women include Wanda Sykes and Joan Rivers. But then it was announced that Lily would be replacing Carson Daly’s late-night time slot with her show A Little Late with Lily Singh. This became a very big deal as she was the first woman to host a late-night show on NBC (and in more than 30 years), but more specifically, she was also the first queer woman of colour to host a late-night show. Aside from her late-night gig, Lily originated as a Youtuber and comedian from Canada, formally known as iisuperwomanii, where she has 14.9 million subscribers (as of March 8th 2021). She has also released 1 self-help book titled How to Be a Bawse and has filmed her tour documentary titled A Trip to Unicorn Island which was filmed through her production company Unicorn Island Productions. She has also acted on other popular projects including Bad Moms, Fahrenheit 451, and Maroon 5’s video for “Girls Like You” featuring Cardi B. While Lily does not have any Film related content to receive awards at any of the prestigious award ceremonies, she has received multiple Teen Choice Awards, People’s Choice Awards, and a Goodreads Choice award for best non-fiction novel. Therefore, taking a look at this list, we can see that Lily’s “Bawse” energy is dominating the entertainment industry at the moment.



Nora Lum, professionally known as Awkwafina, has her career set as an actress who raps on the side. You have likely seen Awkwafina in a variety of projects, including Crazy Rich Asians, Ocean’s 8, The Farewell, and most recently she voiced Sisu in Raya and The Last Dragon which recently started airing on Disney+’s Premier Access. While those projects are just some of her most popular endeavours (I haven’t even included the remaining 15 movies and TV shows she’s acted in over the past 3 years alone), she also has many projects in the works including her role as Katy in Marvel’s upcoming film Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings as well as voicing Scuttle in Disney’s live-action version of The Little Mermaid. All of these projects alone showcase how much acting work Awkwafina has up her sleeve. Along with acting, Awkwafina also pursues a comical rap career. Awkwafina has released 2 Rap albums titled In Fina We Trust (2018) and Yellow Ranger (2014) and is known as a rapper who tackles racial identity and sexuality through her comedic perspective. You may have also heard her music if you watched Crazy Rich Asians, where she was featured on the track “Money” with Cheryl K. Awkwafina has not been recognized for many awards yet. She did receive the award for Best Actress at the 2020 Golden Globes for her film The Farewell, making history as being the first actress of Asian descent to receive this award, and was also one of the only Asian winners during the 2020 event (the other being Joon Ho for his film Parasite).  You can expect to see Awkwafina hit your screens (and maybe your Spotify recommendations) in the coming months! 


Greta Gerwig

While a lot of the other ladies on this list dominate more of the pop culture entertainment side of the industry, one of the leading ladies when it comes to award films is Greta Gerwig. Greta is an actress, director, producer, and writer, well known for her writing and directing work for films Little Women (2019) and Lady Bird (2017). Both of these films did very well during their award run, with Little Women being nominated for 6 academy awards (including best writing for Greta’s work) and Lady Bird with 4 academy award nominations (including best directing for Greta’s film). Both films also received numerous nominations from the Golden Globes, BAFTA, Critic’s Choice, and the Directors Guild of America. However, both of these films fell short for Greta when it came to actual awards with her not receiving either Oscar awards for her writing or directing, including Lady Bird was awarded the Oscar for Best Picture, which was ultimately awarded to the producers, which included one female (Evelyn O’Neill) and two males (Scott Rudin and Eli Bush). Recently, it was announced that Greta will be directing and writing the upcoming Live-Action Barbie movie, which doesn’t have a release date at the moment, but hopefully, Greta will finally receive some more personal awards during the next awards sweep. 


Amy Pascal

Amy Pascal is a film producer, as well as the former studio head for Sony Pictures. After over a 10-year run as studio head for Sony pictures, Amy decided to step down from the company due to differences in the direction that Sony wanted to go, and since then Amy has gone back to producing under her own production company Pascal pictures. During this time, Amy has thrived with many blockbuster hits, including The Post (2017), Little Women (2019), and numerous spiderman films, including SpiderMan: Homecoming, SpiderMan: Far From Home, SpiderMan: Into The Spiderverse, & Venom, which have all been massive hits for Sony despite her no longer heading their studio. Amy also fell short for her awards campaigns, being nominated for best picture for Little Women and The Post but ultimately losing both. As well, her film Into the Spiderverse did with the best animated feature award in 2018, but only the key male producers and directors were recognized for this achievement.  However, with multiple SpiderMan pictures in the works, including SpiderMan: No Way Home, Kraven the Hunter, and Into the Spiderverse 2, as well as working as a producer alongside Greta Gerwig’s writing for the live-action Barbie film, I would not be surprised if more awards coming her way. 


By looking at these five actors alone, we can see how many hardworking women there are within the entertainment industry, and how many women end up being left out. So, as we witness a very slow transformation to a more equal entertainment industry, it’s important to remember how much work women do in Hollywood for successful films and TV, regardless of how many awards they win. So, for all of those women looking to break into the entertainment industry somewhere, whether acting, writing, producing or directing, know that it will be a tough battle at first, but that myself and many other women will be looking forward to watching you dominate.







Mya is a 3rd year student in the Communication, Media and Film program at UWindsor, and is the Co-Campus Correspondent, a social media team member, and a writer for UWindsor's HerCampus! Tech-wise, she loves graphic design, TV/film and social media marketing, which is why she plan to go into advertising! she also love watching movies and TV Shows, self-care, and spending time with friends!
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