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The 86th Academy Awards: The gender breakdown

The Oscars

The Academy Awards are an exciting event, not only for people in the film industry, but also for its spectators. From the "who wore what" to acceptance speeches that make us tear up or the bloopers that are bound to happen, so many of us look forward to a night of celebrating the year's best films.

But, what if the Academy Awards aren't actually celebrating everybody equally? A recent New York Times piece shared the disquieting findings on gender-based screen time: "This year’s lead actors average 85 minutes on screen, but lead actresses average only 57 minutes...Last year’s results were even more imbalanced: nominated male stars averaged 100 minutes on screen to the lead actresses’ 49 minutes."

Newsweek’s piece "Quantifying the Oscars' Woman Problem" found that from the 86 years of the Oscars, only 40 percent of women's acting nominations come from best picture-nominated films, as opposed to 52 percent of men's acting nominations and that nearly twice as many actors (14 percent) as actresses (8 percent) were nominated for films that eventually won best picture. In other words, men more often get recognized for their performances in films of the highest perceived quality.

Out of the 83 best picture nominees that have had nominations in at least one of the women’s acting categories but zero men’s acting categories, only six have actually won the big prize - that's 7 percent. In fact, according to the Newsweek article, 1997's Titanic is the only modern best picture winner to feature nominated actresses and no nominated actors. By contrast, 17 post-1970 best picture winners have nominated actors and no nominated actresses.

Take a look at how Best Picture nominees in relation to Best Acting nominations at the 86th Academy Awards:

Best Picture nominees where both men and women are nominated for acting
2 - American Hustle, 12 Years a Slave (with multiple actor nominations)

Best Picture nominees where only actresses were nominated
2 - Gravity, Philomena

Best Picture nominees where only actors were nominated
3 - The Wolf of Wall Street (multiple actors), Captain Phillips, Dallas Buyers Club (multiple actors)

Actresses nominated for work in films NOT nominated for Best Picture
4 - Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine), Meryl Streep (August: Osage County, Julia Roberts (August: Osage County), Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine)

Actors nominated for work in films NOT nominated for Best Picture
0
 

High-stake categories to keep an eye out for at the Oscars:

Best Picture
If Philomena or Gravity were to win Best Picture, they'd join the ranks of some of the few films to be nominated and win without having a leading male acting nomination.

Categories with exactly 1 woman nominated
Writing, original screenplay: 1 woman, 6 men
Writing, adapted screenplay: 1 woman, 7 men
Documentary, short subject: 1 woman, 5 men

Academy Award Categories with 2 or more women nominated
Best Picture: 5 women nominated, 18 men
Documentary, feature: 3 women nominated, 5 men
Animated Feature Film: 2 women nominated, 11 men
Music, original song: 2 women nominated, 9 men
Short Film, animated: 2 women nominated, 7 men
Short Film, live action: 2 women nominated, 7 men
Production Design: 7 women nominated, 4 men
Costume Design: 2 women nominated, 3 men
Makeup & Hairstyling: 3 women nominated, 2 men

Academy Award Categories with zero women nominated
Directing
Number of Men Nominated: 5
Number of women nominated last year: 0

Cinematography
Number of men nominated: 5
Number of women nominated last year: 0

Film Editing
Number of men nominated: 9
Number of women nominated last year: 0

Music, original score
Number of men nominated: 6
Number of women nominated last year: 0

Sound Editing
Number of men nominated: 6
Number of women nominated last year: 1

Sound Mixing
Number of men nominated: 16
Number of women nominated last year: 0

Visual Effects
Number of men nominated: 20
Number of women nominated last year: 0

 

Photo: AFP/Getty Images