Oscar Noms are Out … But Where Are the Women of Hollywood?


Kumail Nanjiani and Tracee Ellis Ross were up bright and early on Tuesday morning to live stream the announcement of the Academy Award Nominees for 2019. The Oscars will be televised live on Sunday February 24th. They won’t be hosting the award ceremony though — the Oscars are still hostless following Kevin Hart’s decision to step down from the role after homophobic tweets surfaced from his past.

Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma picked up a total of 10 nominations, including Best Picture, Best Cinematography, and Best Directing. Yalitza Aparicio is again contending with Lady Gaga and Glenn Close in her category of Best Actress, while Marina de Tavira has picked up her first major nomination ever as Best Supporting Actress. De Tavira was the only actor on the set of Roma with any film experience, which presented unique challenges on set. “First-time actors — and many of them were children — have a completely different way of working,” de Tavira shared with W Magazine. “Alfonso would play tricks on us — make things happen that we were not expecting. That way, he made real life appear on set.”   

#Oscarssomale This Year (Like Almost Every Other Year)

On Twitter, TimesUp sister Amber Tamblyn spotlighted the glaring absence of females in many of the fields. “No woman nominated for Best Director. No woman nominated for Cinematography. No woman nominated for Editing. No woman nominated for Music. One woman nominated for Adapted Screenplay. One woman nominated for Original Screenplay.” Only one female, the Lebanese Nadine Labaki, was nominated for her work as a director in the Best Foreign Language for her film Capernaum.

Pointing this out the dearth of female noms on social media is a surefire way to bring out the male fragility lurking in comments sections; many of the critics (both male and female) insisted that women simply didn’t put out worthy work this year and that people like Tamblyn are pulling out the gender card when they should aim to be “gender-blind.” Others challenged her to specifically “replace” a male nominee with a worthy female. Both of these lines of thought are informed by the myths that people in positions of power have “earned” it, and that fostering inclusivity necessarily involves “replacing” deserving white people, mainly men, with an invading and undeserving demographic.

Though #oscarssomale is going to incite a mob of mansplainers, the nominations list should ultimately remind all of us that there’s still a lot of work to do to ensure that diverse perspectives are being supported and appreciated in the film industry from the ground up. When every year these fields are dominated by men — there have only ever been five female nominees for Best Director over the course of Oscars history — it indicates that it’s not just a matter of merit but rather a “Celluloid Ceiling” that operates at the expense of female voices. Though the Academy itself has welcomed more women into its ranks than ever before, a study released earlier this month found that there was a decline in female directors being hired by studios between 2017 and 2018. This means more major studios need to take on concerted efforts of inclusion if they want to address this severe gender gap and stay relevant.

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