Oscars 2015: Where's the Female Representation?

Sarah Spiers ‘17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Neil Patrick Harris during the 87th Oscars. Photo Credit: Mark Suban/A.M.P.A.S.
Neil Patrick Harris during the 87th Oscars. Photo Credit: Mark Suban/A.M.P.A.S.
In light of the recent wins at the Oscars this year, many people are left questioning the Academy’s opinions. It’s no secret that nearly everyone nominated for an Oscar this year was white. Even Neil Patrick Harris touched on this issue. And while the lack of racial diversity is a serious issue that needs to be examined, it’s also important to note the continual exclusion female representation in Oscar nominations. Not a single female director or writer was nominated this year. What more, not a single move nominated this year centered on a female protagonist.
The first and only time a female won Best Director was in 2009. Kathryn Bigelow won for her movie The Hurt Locker. To put this in perspective, the award for best directing has existed since 1929 and only once has a woman been nominated and won the award since the award’s conception.
Moreover, every movie nominated for best motion picture this year was centered on a man. While Selma represents the type of diversity that should be included in the nominations, the other films perpetuated the white, male dominance of the film industry. Only a few films featuring a female and centered on that female and her experiences have won academy awards – The Sound of Music (1965), Terms of Endearment (1983), Out of Africa (1985), and Chicago (2002) being the first that come to mind. This year, Still Alice might have been nominated for other Oscars, but was still noticeably lacking from the Best Motion Picture nominees list, as was Gone Girl, which was completely (and wrongfully) excluded.
It’s important for viewers and industry officials alike to question why exclusion based on race and gender continue to exist in the film industry. Having different perspectives and opinions in the entertainment industry bring flavor to our lives. Unfortunately, groups such of the Academy continue to block progress because they themselves consist of the same demographics that overwhelm the nominees list. Perhaps a restructuring of the Academy will lead to a significant change within Oscars and promote change in the film industry as a whole.
*Update: An earlier version of this article incorrectly said Kathryn Bigelow was the first and only female nominee for Best Director; she is just the first and only female to win Best Director.

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  1. This feels like another example of someone being upset that the Oscars didn’t validate their personal opinion. A difference of opinion may be helpful, but it certainly isn’t mandatory and I doubt the Academy is judging films in an attempt to create a United Colors of Benetton ad. Seems less like exclusion and more that people, as they are every year, having a fit that their selections weren’t chosen for certain categories.

  2. Actually she wasn’t the first and only female director nominated for that category. Yes, she was the first to win, but Sofia Coppola, Jane Campion and Lina Wertmüller were also nominated for best directors.

  3. Maybe cause there was no superb film made by a female this year? How about we look at all the movies made in 2014 and see the best female directed movies wet the best directed movies. Let’s have those facts out first before some claims are made. Why is journalism being slacked here? Also…what do you suggest? Maybe best male director and best female director awards? Like separate it? Or do you think there WAS a movie directed by a lady that you think deserved the award more?
    Sorry…too many questions that probably SHOULD have been answered when writing this post.

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