Why are the Oscars so male-centric?

The strive for equal recognition in the film industry continues in the two years following the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements. With the overwhelming lack of nominations for female writers and directors at the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association gives a bleak preview for the upcoming awards season cycle.

Although the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) has faced backlash of their mostly-male, mostly-white nominees, generating hashtag campaigns like #OscarsSoWhite and #OscarsSoBlue, FF2 Media continues championing #MakeOscarGold: merit-based award nominations.

This global issue fights against the bias that AMPAS and subsequent critics groups have cemented into the film industry norm, depleting opportunities for non-white, non-male filmmakers.

For years, FF2 Media has asked the question: Why are the Oscars so male-centric?

The awards selection process begins with mostly male film critics writing initial reviews at film festivals and world premieres; they also make up the film festival juries that distribute prizes. Research from the San Diego State University’s Center for the Study of Women In Television and Film shows that male critics are more likely to give positive reviews to male-directed, male-centric films.

Graphic by Sharon Rosenweig

The second stage of the process involves the critics circle lists. Although women make up half the country’s population (50.8 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau), they represent approximately 22 percent of film critics associations.

By the third stage of the awards cycle, studios send screeners to guild members (Directors Guild of America, Producers Guild of America, Screen Actors Guild, etc.) and their nominations turn into Oscar contenders. Finally, Oscar nominations turn into box offices successes for predominantly male, predominantly white filmmakers.

Male-dominated favorites continue to proceed to the next levels as female favorites get cast aside. By our count, the 2019 film year included 220 films made by women writers and directors. Why aren’t they recognized? Critics vote against films they have not seen or heard of, and they have not seen or heard of them because their mostly male colleagues chose not to see or hear of them.

We need to have balanced film critics associations. We need to recognize the work by all writers and directors. We need to #MakeOscarGold.

© Brigid K. Presecky (1/8/19) FF2 Media

Featured image: The Hollywood Reporter Rountable Directors (2020)

Photos by FF2 Media

 

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Brigid K. Presecky
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Brigid Presecky began her career in journalism at Chicago's Goodman Theatre. In 2008, she joined FF2 Media as a part-time film critic and multimedia editor. Receiving her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from Bradley University, she moved to Los Angeles where she worked in development, production and publicity for Berlanti Productions, Entertainment Tonight and Warner Bros. Studios, respectively. Returning to her journalistic roots in Chicago, she is now a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association and certified Rotten Tomatoes Film Critic.
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