The Oscars 2018 was a disappointing moment for women in Hollywood

Hanna Flint
Contributor
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When the 90th Academy Awards nominations were announced in January it seemed like a progressive step for women.

Rachel Morrison became the first female cinematographer to be nominated in the category, for her work in Mudbound, Greta Gerwig became the fifth woman to be nominated in the Best Director category for Lady Bird – which also earned nods in the Best Original Screenplay and Best Picture categories –  Octavia Spencer became the first woman of colour to get two consecutive Oscar nominations and Mary J. Blige became the first person to earn a Supporting Actress and Original Song nomination in the same year.

The 2018 nominations also matched the record set in 2016 for the most number of female nominees in Oscars history, with 40 women recognised by the Academy in the non-female acting categories.

In contrast, over 140 men were nominated in the non-acting categories and sadly at the ceremony on Sunday night, just six women took home gold statues compared to 33 men.

Two of those, of course, went to the Leading Actress and Supporting Actress winners; Frances McDormand won the former for her role in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and Allison Janney won the latter for her performance in I, Tonya.

Rachel Shenton was one of just six female winners (Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

The other four female winners all shared their wins with men; Lucy Sibbick sahred the Best Makeup and Hairstyling win with Kazuhiro Tsuji and David Malinowski for for their work on Darkest Hour, Kristen Anderson Lopez and her husband Robert Lopez won Best Original Song for “Remember Me” from Coco, Rachel Shenton shared the Best Live Action Short Film win with partner Chris Overton for The Silenced Girl and Darla K. Anderson and Lee Unkrich took home Best Animated Feature for Coco.

This low figure – the lowest since 2012 – is no doubt disappointing for women in Hollywood as the Time’s Up movement is all about giving women a fighting chance in the industry (as well as other work spaces) which has long been dominated by men.

It’s especially frustrating given that two Oscars went to people who have been accused of violence against women.

Gary Oldman won the Leading Actor Award for his role of Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour, but he was accused of domestic violence by his ex-wife in court filings during their divorce proceedings in 2001. Donya Fiorentino claimed Oldman assaulted her in front of his children in papers filed to the Los Angeles Superior Court, but he vehemently denies the allegations.

Kobe Bryant was the other Oscar winner with a controversial history as he was accused of rape in 2003. He settled with the accuser in the civil suit after his legal team smeared her name in criminal court and the press.

Kobe Bryant wins an Oscar desite being accused of rape in 2003 and settling out of court

On Sunday the retired basketball player – who had an illustrious career since the incident – won the Best Animated Short Film for Dear Basketball.

Clearly time’s not up for these two men yet.

It’s also obvious that there’s still a long way to go before there is any sort of gender parity in Hollywood. Until more women are given opportunities behind the camera and in technical roles, we’ll continue to have men dominate the nominations and the winners list at the Oscars.

We’ll also have men dominate what’s being said in front of the camera. The BBC worked out just how many words were uttered by men and women for each Best Picture winner since 2016 and the results were hardly shocking.


Men dominate the conversation in each film, even in a film like Millionaire Dollar Baby where the titular character is a woman.

This year’s Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water, is centred on a woman who is mute, and with only one other significant female character (played by Octavia Spencer) in the cast compared to several men including Michael Shannon, MIchael Stulhbarg and Richard Jenkins, it is likely to have more male dialogue than female too.

But of the movies nominated in the Best Picture category, four of them were centred on female narratives, so here’s hoping the next 12 months will see more of a progressive change to ensure the 2019 Oscars exhibit far better diversity and representation.

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