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What Do Most of Tonight's Nominees Have in Common? A Disappointing Statistic About the Academy Awards

The popcorn is popped, the beverages are chilling, and in homes across the nation people are tuning in to watch their favorite celebrities walk the red carpet.  The 84th Annual Academy Awards are tonight and while it’s an event to celebrate the achievements of the top talent of the silver screen, an industry where women excel at every aspect of filmmaking from acting to directing, there is one statistic regarding tonight’s award ceremony that you may not be aware of and, if you’re a woman, you’ll want to hear this.

Of this year’s 200 Academy Award nominees, only 45 are female. In other words, women have received less than a quarter of the total nominations. This might lead one to ask the question: “Who’s doing the voting for this award show anyway?” The population of voters for the Oscars is 77% male with an average age of 62.

Assuming men are more inclined to vote for their own sex, this is only a portion of the problem of women’s under-representation in tonight’s ceremony. According to the annual Celluloid Ceiling Study, women accounted for just 14 percent of writers, 18 percent of executive producers, 25 percent of producers, 20 percent of editors, and 4 percent of cinematographers last year. Women also made up only 5 percent of directors, a number down by 4% since 1998.

In total, women made up only 18 percent of all directors, executive producers, producers, writers, cinematographers, and editors working on the top 250 domestic grossing films in 2011, an increase of 2 percent from the previous year, but a 1 percent decrease from a decade ago.

While women’s presence in the work force has increased significantly over the past few decades, the film industry continues to be a male-dominated one. In a move that seems to indicate the academy is ready for a change, former executive director of Film Independent,  Dawn Hudson, was appointed as its new chief executive this year.

Women directors were sadly left off of  this year’s Best Director nominees. Let’s hope this is a trend we’ll see change for the better in the coming year.

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