The Academy has given a lot more non-white people a shot at taking home little gold statues in 2017. This year’s nominees feature actors of color including Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer and Mahershala Ali, presenting the welcome image of a Hollywood committed to telling more diverse stories than past decades’ predominately white, male ones.
But in non-acting categories ― that is, the ones not inherently divided by gender ― the landscape is marked by one defining factor: They’re still mostly men.
A study by the Women’s Media Center found that only 20 percent of Academy Award nominations in categories from writing to editing to directing went to women this year. That’s in spite of the Academy inviting nearly 700 new voting members in mid-2016, including many women and people of color.
“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,” Julie Burton, president of the WMC, said in a statement.
The organization notes that the number of nominated women is roughly on par with the number of women hired in behind-the-scenes roles in 2016. Women made up 17 percent of those directing, writing, producing, editing and cinematographer positions among the year’s top 250 domestic films in 2016, according to the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film.
Acting categories seemed to be more diversified after two consecutive years of #OscarsSoWhite protests against Hollywood’s lack of representation. Three black women were nominated for supporting roles ― a record.
Behind the scenes, there was good news for diversity advocates, too. “Moonlight” co-editor Joi McMillan became the first black woman ever nominated for editing, and “Jackie” composer Mica Levy became the first woman to be nominated in 17 years for an original score.
But the WMC warns that until more women are hired for those behind-the-camera jobs, parity in nominations will be tough to reach.
“[W]ith appreciation to Michelle Obama,” Burton said, “we ask the studio and agency executives who are OK 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.”
Take a look at the gender split in non-acting categories below.