For the next three years, the Academy Awards ceremony will remain in its late-February/early-March spot on the calendar. Reuters

Only 20 percent of the non-acting categories in the 89th Academy Award nominations comprise women and most major categories such as best director and best writer woefully underrepresented women, according to a Women’s Media Center report, released Monday.

Representatives of the Women’s Media Center said that the overall nomination numbers are symptomatic of the similar gender discrimination noted in overall employment numbers for 2016 that were featured in “The Celluloid Ceiling” report documented by the Center for the Study of Women in Television & Film, which found that women represented only 17 percent of all directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors and cinematographers working on the top 250 domestic grossing films.

“We have a saying, ‘If you can see it, you can be it,’ but in the crucial behind-the-scenes non-acting roles, our ‘Women’s Media Center Investigation shows that what you see is 80 percent of all nominees are men. Four out of five nominees are men—meaning male voices and perspectives are largely responsible for what we see on screen,” Julie Burton, president of the Women’s Media Center, said in the report.

The analysis, coming 10 days after the Women’s March movement that drew about 4.8 million people worldwide wearing pussy hats and marching for women’s rights, may have a bearing on the 2017 Oscars, which will broadcast on Feb. 26. Oscars have received flak in the past for neglecting people of color when #OscarsSoWhite began trending on Twitter. In a related development, actress Patricia Arquette said she lost out on roles following her 2015 Oscar acceptance speech for winning best supporting actress for her role in "Boyhood," in which she raised her voice for women’s issues and gender-based wage disparities.

“Clearly, women cannot get through the door and if they cannot get through the door, they cannot be recognized—and rewarded—for their excellence and impact. ... In the meantime, and with appreciation to Michelle Obama, we ask the studio and agency executives who are okay with making a bunch of deals that exclude women to ‘Be Better.’ The perspectives, experience and voices of more than half the population deserve an equal seat at the table,” Burton said.

A chart depicting the gender diversity in various categories of Oscar awards. 2017 Women's Media Center

However, some categories such as producing, sound mixing, sound editing and costumes showed participation from women.

Best Picture

With nine women nominated in the producing category, the number marks an impressive record-breaking 11-year high compared to a decade ago when the number was two. However, an uptick was seen among both genders, as the number of men nominated increased to 21, compared to 16 last year.

The report noted that while women may be producing more films, the narrative may not be around women’s stories. It pointed that only two films in the best picture race, “Arrival” and “Hidden Figures,” have stories centered on female characters. Only “Hidden Figures” has exclusively female producers: Donna Gigliotti and Jenno Topping.

Writing (Original and Adapted Screenplay)

Representation of females dipped in both writing categories, when compared to last year. A peculiar trend was also observed by the report in its analysis of the past decade (2006 to 2016) nominees for these particular categories.

The report noted a vast disparity in men receiving repeated nominations after earning their first. A combined total of 45 repeated nominations were found for men compared to only one for a female — Julie Delpy for “Before Sunrise” and “Before Midnight.”


For the seventh consecutive year, since Kathryn Bigelow was nominated and won an Oscar for her film “The Hurt Locker,” no female nominees were there in the directing category.

Film Editing

Compared to three last year, the number of women who made it to the list of nominees was only one this year.


No woman has ever been nominated for this award in this category.

Documentary (Short Subject and Feature)

The documentary feature category saw an increase of one female nominee to four this year compared to last year. But it is still down from the 11-year high of five female nominees in 2006.

The short documentary category saw an equal division of genders with four females and four males.