And The Oscar Goes Too…

Well it’s time to put your designer gowns away for another year as we say so long to award season and all its celebrities, creativity and controversy. But I mean what we talk about if hosts didn’t get in trouble for saying the wrong things, people never fell over or went overtime on their speeches, and men and women were respected equally enough in each field to gain nominations?

This year I tried to boycott the Oscars as much as I could due to the lack of any females in the Directing category and the ridiculous decision to move the awards for Cinematography and Editing to a commercial break. When you write about the film industry however it becomes hard to avoid hearing about Awards season, especially the Oscars.

Although it wasn’t all bad news at the end of the day, as this year’s ceremony had the most black, and female winners on record. 7 Black and 15 female winners. Some were even a combination of the two such as Ruth E Carter and Hannah Beachler for their work in costume and production design on Black Panther. They also made history by being the first black people to win in their respective categories.

But even with these record breaking triumphs the whole thing seemed to lack in any sort of drive for gender equality. Once again we saw no Female directors even nominated, which is a serious oversight considering the amount of brilliant female lead films we saw come out last year.

The whole film industry this past Summer/Winter was a big contradiction to itself. Reflected in this years Oscars was an old view of what the industry should be and the world seemed to be moving on around it.

Chinonye Chukwu

Sundance Film Festival for example boasted a whopping 53% of female directors for the Dramatic competition with 41% people of colour. In fact out of the 61 directors in all four competition categories 42% were women, 39% were people of colour, and 23% identify as LGBTQIA. And Clemency directed by Chinonye Chukwu won the dramatic competition.

It seems almost ironic with such large numbers of female filmmakers being shown at a festival like Sundance, that not a single woman would make it into the 6 films nominated for best Director. But perhaps, as I said, it is just a reflection on 2018 as a year for film.

Already this year however, disregarding the awards season, we have seen calls for change.

The 4% challenge was launched by Times Up for production companies to commit to announcing a project with a female director on a feature film in the next 18 months. 4% being the number of top grossing films made by women between 2007 – 2018. Already Universal Studios have pledged to take on this “Challenge” and it will be interesting to see if anyone else will commit publicly to hiring female directors.

It is March and already we are seeing some great steps towards the kind of future the film industry should have but I can’t help but feel as though we have been in a similar situation before. Is it a time to remain hopeful, or be worried that things are never truly going to change?


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