Women in the Film Industry: Famous Females Behind the Cameras

  • Women in the film industry take up only 20%
  • We discuss the issue of underrepresentation and male dominance in the indsutry
  • From directors to producers, some women managed to break the glass ceiling
women in the film industry

As much as we adore actresses, it is eyecatching how little representation there is for women behind the cameras. Women in the film industry deserve more recognition, especially in 2021. In light of the upcoming Academy Awards, let us dedicate some time to explore the status of women in the film industry. With countless talents deserved to be celebrated, we aim to discuss some of the causes and problems regarding females behind cameras. 

The film industry is a men’s world. How so? According to a 2019 report, women comprised 20% of all directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors, and cinematographers working on the top 100 grossing films of 2019. Even though we see an increase in female involvement since 2018, the numbers are still quite shocking. When taking a look at the uprising of female directors on a major production in recent years, there is space for hope. However, men still dominate key roles regarding production. A study finds, that men outnumber women 4 to 1 in each of these roles. Therefore, we ask the question of what is really going on behind the scenes? As we await the upcoming Academy Awards, it is the right time to dedicate some time to understand the dynamics behind our beloved films and potential bets. See the changes women went through in the film industry!

Female directors to lead the fight

women in the film industry
Nicole Kidman – Georges Biard, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Quite (in)famously, it has not even been a year since complaints came out on the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. The association suffered a major backlash for not including female directors amongst the nominees. Surely the association had a well-prepared answer, some leading actresses stood their grounds. As a matter of fact, actresses like Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Lopez and others had started a petition announcing their dedication to work solely with female directors. As a result, it is not a surprise that when we take a look at online sportsbook sites in the US, Oscar betting odds show many females are favourites.

We specifically focus on female directors, such as Chloé Zhao for Nomadland or Emerald Fennel for Promising Young Women. Bovada offers odds on all the 2021 Oscar categories from leading roles behind the camera achievements. As much as we consider the nomination of these talented female directors a success, it seems as though women in the film industry only mean women in directing- at this point.

Why women of the film industry struggle

We can observe, that in recent years female directors gained more representation through smaller or indie productions. While this is hands down a success, what is stopping them from getting into major productions? The answer is quite simply the fact the industry – focusing on Hollywood – is overly male-dominated. The ownership of the biggest studios, producers, trendsetters are historically men, and they are heavily embedded in their positions.

Up until the last five to ten years, women in the film industry really just meant the actresses we adored. Gendered expectations and presumptions affect the female carrier path in film. As the Center for the Study of Women in the Film Industry expressed, there is a “cell ceiling” for women in business. The term is a metaphor for the underrepresentation of women in hiring and employment in Hollywood. The takeaway from this report is that despite the countless panels, repeated calls for voluntary programs, and promises of change, the percentages of women have remained relatively stable in the majority of the roles considered.

What about writers, editors and cinematography?

The pandemic arguably caused an interruption in the production of film over the course of our last year. However, the 2020 celluloid ceiling report analysed the number of females in background and productions roles. They found, that the numbers do not show a significant change compared to last year.  In 2020, the majority of films (67%) employed 0 to 4 women in the roles considered. 24% of films employed 5 to 9 women, and 9% employed 10 or more women. On online gambling sites in the US, Chole Zhao presents in the category of editing at the 2021 Oscars.

However, in productions design and cinematography, the representation is still close to zero. The situation is the same in the categories of sound design, visual effects and music. In more traditional feminine categories such as hair and makeup and costume design, women dominate over men. As shown in this case, gender roles determine women in the film industry and particularly in the fields above.

Famous women in the film industry

women in the film industry
Kathryn Bigelow – Sgt. Michael Connors – 302nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Last but not least, we ought to mention the few who represent women behind the cameras. Kathryn Biglow became the first woman to win the Academy Award for Best Director, the BAFTA Award for Best Direction, the Critics’ Choice Movie Award for Best Director, and the Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing. Her films include Detrotit (2017), or Zero Dark Thirty (2012). Sherry Lansing is the former CEO of Paramount Pictures. She became the president of production at 20th Century Fox. Thus, she is the first women ever to become the head of a Hollywood movie studio.

In 2017, Actor and Screenwriter Lena Waithe made history when she became the first African American woman to win the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series. The Master of None episode for which she won the Emmy was actually inspired by her experience coming out as a lesbian to her mother. Lucille Ball was also a revered entertainment Studio Executive and Producer. When she co-founded Desilu Productions in 1962, she became the first woman to run a major television studio. The company produced many influential television shows, such as The Untouchables, Star Trek, and I Love Lucy (Source: breakdown services).

Women in the upcoming Academy Awards

The 93rd Academy Awards will be on the 26th of April, 2021. With a number of great work amongst the nominations, it is the single biggest event to set trends for women in the film industry. Bovada offers great odds on Oscar betting, featuring all the females in the categories. According to the site, Nomadland is definitely a favourite this year. By director Chloé Zhao, Nomadland recieved nominations in major categories, not to mention its thriving success at film awards earlier this year. Putting aside gender roles, Nomadland is truly an outstanding work this year, that we could place our wagers on!

You can discover more about Bovada Sportsbook here.

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