Women in Entertainment: Female Best Director Oscar Nominees and Winners, By The Numbers

Kathryn Bigelow at the 2010 Oscars (Zimbio)

Kathryn Bigelow at the 2010 Oscars (Zimbio)

This post was originally published on January 25, 2018 and is being republished as part of Women in Entertainment Week. It has been updated from the original.

The Oscars are this weekend, and actress/director Greta Gerwig is in the running for Best Director for her feature “Lady Bird.”

Gerwig is only the fifth woman to be nominated for Best Director! Isn’t that insane?! Especially since the Oscars have been occurring since 1927…

Here are some stats on female nominees for the Best Director Oscar:

Estimated Number of Best Director Oscar Nominees, 1927-2017: 451

  • This number covers 90 years of the Academy Awards, with an average of 5 directors nominated per year.

Number of female Best Director nominees: 5

  • Lina Wertmuller for “Seven Beauties” (1976)
  • Jane Campion for “The Piano” (1993)
  • Sofia Coppola for “Lost in Translation” (2003)
  • Kathryn Bigelow for “The Hurt Locker” (2009)
  • Greta Gerwig for “Lady Bird” (2017)

Percentage of female Best Director nominees to total Best Director nominees: 1.11%

Number of American female Best Director nominees: 3

  • Sofia Coppola for “Lost in Translation” (2003)
  • Kathryn Bigelow for “The Hurt Locker” (2009)
  • Greta Gerwig for “Lady Bird” (2017)

Female Best Director winners: 1

  • Kathryn Bigelow for “The Hurt Locker” (2009)

Percentage of Female Best Director Winners to Total Best Director Winners: 1.11%

Number of American female Best Director winners: 1

  • Kathryn Bigelow for “The Hurt Locker” (2009)

Obviously, these numbers need to change. More women need to be recognized and rewarded for their achievements!

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Women in Entertainment: Some Basic Stats

Sofia Coppola (Junkee)

Sofia Coppola (Junkee)

Let’s kick off some basic stats about women in entertainment, shall we? Because knowledge is power, and let’s change this shit! I pulled these from a variety of sources; all figures are from 2017 unless otherwise noted.

Film:

(All figures for the top 100 domestic highest-grossing films of 2017)

  • Women comprised 10% of directors, 8% of writers, and 2% of cinematographers.
  • Women comprised 37% of major characters, and comprised 34% of all speaking characters.
  • In terms of female characters’ race and ethnicity, 68% of female characters were white, 16% were Black, 7% were Latina, 7% were Asian, and 2% were defined as “other” (no delineation given).
  • Women comprised 5% of total leaders depicted, compared to 8% for men.

 

TV:

(All data pulled from the 2016-2017 television season)

  • Women comprised “42% of major characters on broadcast network, cable, and streaming programs.”
  • For womens’ speaking roles with respect to race and ethnicity, Black women spoke in 19% of all roles, Asian women spoke in 6% of all roles, and Latina women spoke in 5% of all roles. Each group showed gains year-over-year.
  • Women comprised 28% of creators, directors and writers and other above-the line functions as defined by the survey.
  • Four women or fewer were employed in certain behind the scenes roles at 50% of programs.

And finally, this gem:

Hollywood’s top paid union executive—a man—earned 60 percent more than the highest-paid female union executive.

Makes you want to burn it all down, doesn’t it? And there are many more of these depressing and disappointing statistics out there.

Hopefully with all the awareness and dialogue surrounding gender disparity in the field right now, we’re on track to make some BIG changes.

Welcome to Women in Entertainment Week!

Directors Patty Jenkins, Sofia Coppola, Dee Rees, and Greta Gerwig (Vulture)

Directors Patty Jenkins, Sofia Coppola, Dee Rees, and Greta Gerwig (Vulture)

Welcome to Women in Entertainment Week here on Sex & Stats! This week, we’ll be devoting content to the various statistics surrounding women who work in the entertainment field. When you’re watching the Oscars on Sunday, you’ll know your stats! Enjoy!

By The Numbers: Female Best Director Oscar Nominees

Greta Gerwig at the 2018 Golden Globe Awards (Elk Grove Tribune)

Greta Gerwig at the 2018 Golden Globe Awards (Elk Grove Tribune)

Oscar nominations dropped earlier this week, and actress/director Greta Gerwig received a nomination for Best Director for her feature “Lady Bird.”

Gerwig is only the fifth woman to be nominated for Best Director! Isn’t that insane?! Especially since the Oscars have been occurring since 1927…

Here are some stats on female nominees for the Best Director Oscar:

Estimated Number of Best Director Oscar Nominees, 1927-2017: 451

  • This number covers 90 years of the Academy Awards, with an average of 5 directors nominated per year.

Number of female Best Director nominees: 5

  • Lina Wertmuller for “Seven Beauties” (1976)
  • Jane Campion for “The Piano” (1993)
  • Sofia Coppola for “Lost in Translation” (2003)
  • Kathryn Bigelow for “The Hurt Locker” (2009)
  • Greta Gerwig for “Lady Bird” (2017)

Percentage of female Best Director nominees to total Best Director nominees: 1.11%

Number of American female Best Director nominees: 3

  • Sofia Coppola for “Lost in Translation” (2003)
  • Kathryn Bigelow for “The Hurt Locker” (2009)
  • Greta Gerwig for “Lady Bird” (2017)

Female Best Director winners: 1

  • Kathryn Bigelow for “The Hurt Locker” (2009)

Percentage of Female Best Director Winners to Total Best Director Winners: 1.11%

Number of American female Best Director winners: 1

  • Kathryn Bigelow for “The Hurt Locker” (2009)

Obviously, these numbers need to change. More women need to be recognized and rewarded for their achievements!

Thursday Trends: Young Women and #GrannyHair

Rihanna (Her Interest)

Rihanna (Her Interest)

Kylie Jenner did it. So did Rihanna and Kelly Osbourne. Of course, Lady Gaga, trendsetter that she is, rocked it back in 2010.

Grey hair.

Once upon a time, it was unseemly for women to go out sporting anything other than a full mane of brown, black, red or blonde hair. Grey was seen as unnatural and, at the same time, a little too natural. It was shoved to the side, to the back of the mind, ignoring the tell-tale side of aging.

Right now, women are embracing the color whole-heartedly, and running towards the grey instead of away from it. A recent BuzzFeed post shows how young women are riding the trend, especially seen on Instgram with the hashtag #GrannyHair.

But why now? Why is this grey hair’s big moment?

We seem to be in the midst of a “revering our elders” moment. (Real talk, though: that needs to happen every day. Call your grandparents, people!) The fashion world has been pioneering this lately. French fashion house Céline tapped 80-year-old essayist Joan Didion to be their latest model, and Saint Laurent is using 71-year-old Joni Mitchell. The major beauty players are doing the same, with 64-year-old Jessica Lange for Marc Jacobs and 69-year-old Helen Mirren for L’Oreal Paris. In this year’s Milan Fashion Week, trends skewed towards something your grandmother might don for a social event.

This makes total sense in terms of how current demographics are shifting. The baby boomer generation, born between 1946 and 1964, are turning officially “old” at a rapid clip. As of 2011, they numbered 77M+ and are “the largest generation in American history.” Baby boomers began turning 65 in 2011, and won’t stop until the end of 2029.

Here’s how CNN puts this demographic’s strength in numbers in terms of future projected growth:

The 65+ population segment is projected to double to 71.5 million by 2030 and grow to 86.7 million by 2050.

With this projected growth will come a lot of societal changes (I’ve always said that this isn’t a generation that’ll age quietly). We’re beginning to see initial impacts with how we view that generation and the ones before. For example, It used to be that you couldn’t be seen as a sexual being after a certain age, that you were out of the running in the race to make babies. And while that second part might be true, the first has been proven false by many women over “a certain age.” Case in point: see every instance where a late-night talk show host jokes about Helen Mirren. They’re always saying she’s hot (and she is!). Society has long seen older men with grey hair as sexy, and is now (finally!) coming around to the idea that older women are hot too.

Young women coloring their hair grey even has a historical precedent. In her book “Seductress: Women Who Ravished the World and Their Lost Art of Love” author Betsy Prioleau mentions that young women in the French court used to powder their hair grey to emulate their elders. (If you’ve seen Sofia Coppola’s “Marie Antoinette,” the director subtly includes this detail, noticeable in some shots.)

Overall, this trend really points to a shift in how we’re seeing aging. People seem to be more open to the fact that life doesn’t stop after a certain age. And young women are celebrating their elders with their grey hair, natural or not.