Magazine article Variety

Women Make Gains among Oscar Voters

Magazine article Variety

Women Make Gains among Oscar Voters

Article excerpt

WHEN THE MOTION PICTURE ACADEMY addressed criticism of its demographic makeup last month by inviting 683 new members, the big story, it turns out, was the number of women who were asked to join across the organization's various crafts branches.

According to a Variety analysis of the previous five years of Academy membership, the cinematographers branch made the greatest leap in number of women invited. In 2016, nine of the branch's 28 invitations were extended to women, or 32% of DPs invited. That's a much more representative figure than the one from 2011 to 2015, when women comprised just 7% (four out of 54) of the new members invited to join the branch.

The music branch also saw a considerable jump, from 14% over the past five years to 42% this year, while film editors went from 23% to 41%. There were incrememntal upticks for visual effects (3% to 9%) and sound (12% to 18%).

The only dips came among designers and makeup/hairstylists, which dropped 4% and 3%, respectively. But those two areas consistently represent the true percentages of women both in the Academy and among the industry at large.

"What I've noticed is that the discrepancy has been in the categories where there's female authorship and ownership, like writing, directing, and composing," says new member Lesley Barber, composer on this year's indie darling "Manchester by the Sea.""There's a loss of new energy and new voices if people aren't included. Think of the energy provided by the showrunners, writers, directors, and creators - the women that have come in and risen to prominence, like Lena Dunham, Mira Nair, Kathryn Bigelow, Mary Harron, Kimberly Peirce, Tina Fey - it impacts the way the industry and the audiences hear female voices and new subject matter."

Reed Morano ("Kill Your Darlings," "The Skeleton Twins") was one of just two female lensers invited to the cinematographers branch in 2013. …

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