Have the Oscars, like the rest of society, become more inclusive over time? Unfortunately, no. They've gotten worse.
A lot has changed since the Academy Awards began in 1927. Racial segregation was outlawed, the courts came to the realization that barring all fertile women from certain workplaces was supremely illegal and a banning all discrimination on the basis of sex and race was enshrined into law. You'd think that these monumental changes would seep their way into the film industry. But alas, Hollywood is still stuck in the diversity stone age.
Thanks to the good people at Lee & Low Books who crafted the disturbing infographic below, it's mighty clear that the Oscars is the whitest old boys club there is.
This section of the graph deserved its own screenshot. Ten years after Halle Berry's groundbreaking best actress win, it's shocking to see that the award has since only been given out to white women.
After crunching more than 80 years' worth of numbers, Amelia Showalter came to a similar conclusion in Newsweek. The problem isn't just that there's a dearth of female-centric movies, Showalter argued, it's that films driven by actresses tend to be grossly undervalued by members of the Academy.
Looking over decades of nominated movies, Showalter noticed that men nominated in acting categories are likely to be in films nominated for best picture. Not so with female actresses. This leads Showalter to posit that films centered on women are considered less "Best Picture-worthy" because they don't focus on male protagonists. What's more disheartening is that according to the statistics, this trend is actually getting worse over time.
"The modern era has shown an even stronger skew away from female-dominated films," Showalter explains. "In fact, 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."
Judging by Jesse David Fox's brilliant chart of the Wolf of Wall Street, there isn't much hope for nominations this year. The sexist stereotypes that plague the movie probably won't stop it from winning any awards. In fact, it might make it more popular among the judges who are overwhelmingly white and male.
Image credit: Vulture
But no worries ladies! While you may never be recognized for your superior talent, you can rest easy knowing snubs still end in gift bags. The Oscars may be "gender-blind" (ahem male-biased) when it comes to the awards, but not when it comes to the swag. If you're really lucky, you might even find a better-luck-next-time vaginal rejuvenation kit. Since your value as an actress will lessen with age, it's best to start the tightening process early!
What do you think about the lack of diversity during the Oscars? Let me know on Twitter and Facebook. Don't forget to join the conversation online on the night of the Academy Awards and use the Representation Project's #AskHerMore hashtag to encourage the media to focus on women's accomplishments rather than what they're wearing. You can also use their new media litteracy tool to test if your favorite movies challenge the status quo.