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To The Academy: Consider the Women

To The Academy: Consider the Women

It’s that time of year, The Academy Awards, the “Super Bowl for Women.”  It’s the night where we all get catty about whose dress doesn’t work, who’s got a new boyfriend or girlfriend, and who looks like they haven’t eaten all month.

Because the world is paying attention to Hollywood in a bigger way this week there is an opportunity to raise awareness about gross inequities in the business.  So we here at Women and Hollywood are taking this opportunity to say that THERE NEED TO BE MORE WOMEN CONSIDERED FOR BEST DIRECTOR. 

So we put together this video (it’s only a little over a minute) highlighting some of the women directed films from this past year that were passed over.  We’re not trying to say that all of them should have been nominated (though we think a couple of them should have), what we are trying to say is that we have to find a way to get women directors into these conversations. 

We are so tired of watching parade after parade of men being praised for their work.  Last year at least we got to see Kathryn Bigelow up on the stage giving out the best director award, this year, the lack of women will be glaring.   Not only are there no women directors nominated, no films directed by women are nominated for best picture.

Here are the stats again:

  • In 2011, only 5% of the top grossing films in Hollywood were directed by Women.  The number has decreased since 1998.
  • In 84 years only 4 women — Lina Wertmuller, Jane Campion, Sofia Coppola and Kathryn Bigelow — have been nominated for best director.  One 1 has won.

We want to acknowledge the women directed films nominated:

  • Best Animated Feature: Jennifer Yuh Nelson for Kung Fu Panda 2;
  • Documentary (Short Subject): The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement – Robin Fryday and Gail Dolgin; God Is the Bigger Elvis – Rebecca Cammisa and Julie Anderson; Saving Face – Daniel Junge and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy; The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom – Lucy Walker and Kira Carstensen
  • Foreign Language Film: Agnieszka Holland for In Darkness
  • Short Film Animated: Wild Life – Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby; A Morning Stroll- Grant Orchard and Sue Goffe
  • Short Film Live Action: The Shore – Terry George and Oorlagh George; Time Freak – Andrew Bowler and Gigi Causey

Please feel free to send this video out far and wide, and on Sunday, remember that women directors voices and visions are missing from this very large cultural conversation.   Telling people this is a cultural problem and not just a gender equity problem is a first step.

Video link:

To go mobile use this link:

The Oscar Noms: It Sucks to Be a Female Filmmaker Part 2 (Women and Hollywood)

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Yes, it truly is a drag how under represented women directors are; Kind of like Black directors.

Korky Day

They have Best Actor and Best Actress. That's a quota system. Not so bad, eh? Apply it to other categories, or at least start with a 50-50 quota for nominees.



Melissa Silverstein

Just to clarify- this video was created with only feature because those are the films that the best directing nominees come from.

susan grode

You omitted from your list the amazing and inspiring documentary "W.A.R. : Women's Art Revolution" by Lynn Hershman Leeson, which was honored in 2011 at Sundance, The Musuem of Modern Art, arts and film institutions and received incredible reviews from every major newspaper and magazine as an important and revelatory film, but was completely ignored by the Academy.

Bitch Pack

Right on, Melissa. We made a little video also- about making change for women in Hollywood– starting at the screenplay spec level with "The Bitch List"

Social Issues of women

Women web- an online magazine, covering every segment of womens everyday life. Whether you are wondering to know about social issues, workplace issues, health issues or any relationship advice you can get them all at one place. So, whether you are working right now, on a break, looking to re-enter the workplace, a happy homemaker or going to start your first job, we hope you’ll find something here to interest you.

J. Reitman

Amazing video. We feel the same way.


My dislike for white, 60ish, affluent arrogant Hollywood type males (and a handful of female cohorts) is growing exponentially. It feels great to hang up on them,to ignore them, and not to buy into their destructive brand of capitalism. Feels great to be free of them for a change. Thank you for the infomation and thank you for the video.

M. Solomon

Great video! I hope that there is a good deal of conversation about this issue. One omission: Included in your list of nominees above should be Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby for Wild Life.

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