Have you been tuned into the 4% Challenge? It has been gaining public traction since it was initiated in response to the Annenberg School of Communications’ report released in January 2019, revealing that only 4% of popular films made between 2007 and 2018 were directed by women. If you’ve been keeping track of the public figures in the film industries who have pledged to work with a female director in the next 18 months, and if you’re aware that fewer popular films were directed by women in 2018 than in 2017, maybe you found yourself wondering how many women were nominated for Academy Awards this year in categories other than acting.
“Because only 4% of the top 100 studio films over the last DECADE have been directed by women, #TIMESUP is initiating a challenge, the 4% challenge, and I intend to take it: I commit to working with a female director in the next 18 months.” –@TessaThompson_x #TIMESUPX2 pic.twitter.com/GjsuqeryKj
— TIME’S UP (@TIMESUPNOW) January 26, 2019
The answer, according to the Women’s Media Center, is that only 25% of the nominees for Oscars this year in non-acting categories are women, and there are zero in Directing, Cinematography and Film Editing.
There’s solid evidence that the pressure put on the Academy in response to #OscarsSoWhite led directly to a concentrated effort to diversify Academy membership. According to their own reporting, 49% of the 928 new members added to the Academy in 2018 are female, which is great. Variety says that that means the total percentage of female Academy members is 31%, up from 28% the previous year. Is it a coincidence that the total percentage of female nominees so closely mirrors the total percentage of female Academy members?
Here’s an infographic created by the WMC that illustrates the disparity in this year’s nominees. If you’d like to see something different next year, call on all of the actors and studios you care about to commit to working with female directors and vote with your dollars at the box office for films by women!
And if you’re a person of influence in the world of filmmaking, don’t forget what Frances McDormand said in her Oscar acceptance speech last year: