It’s no secret the film industry has often struggled when it comes to diversity and as has (rightly) been the case in recent years, awards season has once again been dominated by conversations about representation.
The Golden Globes saw Sterling K. Brown become the first black man win to win the Best Actor - TV Drama prize and ‘Get Out’ has taken its rightful place on numerous Oscars shortlists.
It hasn’t all been good though, with the Baftas and Golden Globes coming under fire for failing to shortlist a woman - namely Greta Gerwig - for Best Director.
Back in January, a report also revealed that women and BAME film-makers are no better represented in Hollywood compared to a decade ago, which serves as a reminder it’s not just the ceremony organisers who are to blame, but the bigwigs funding the films and handing out jobs in the first place.
Ahead of Sunday’s (4 March) Academy Awards, we’re looking back at just how much things have really changed in the last fifty years and while there are many landmark moments that have warranted celebration, they’ve often been too few and far between...
1. It’s been over 30 years since a disabled actor won an Oscar...
Marlee Matlin, who is deaf, won Best Actress in 1986, for ‘Children Of A Lesser God’.
2. But 16% of acting Oscars have gone to non-disabled actors, playing disabled characters.
In January 2017, Mencap’s chief executive, Jan Tregelles, was of the co-authors of a letter that highlighted the lack of disabled actors on our screens, specifically those with learning difficulties.
The fact many able-bodied actors have been recognised for their portrayals of disabled characters have not gone unnoticed and in 2017, IndieWire listed 59 actors who became Oscar-nominated for doing so
3. There were 45 years between the first and second black Best Actor Bafta winners
Sidney Poitier became the first black actor to win the accolade in 1959. Jamie Foxx then triumphed in 2004.
4. Just five women have been nominated for the Best Director Oscar…
Hats off to Lina Wertmüller (1977), Jane Campion (1994), Sofia Coppola (2004) and Kathryn Bigelow (2010) and Greta Gerwig (2018).
5. And in 87 years of Academy Awards, only one has won the prize.
This could all change on Sunday but for the time being, Kathryn Bigelow is the only woman to have been crowned Best Director.
She was rewarded for her work on war thriller, ‘The Hurt Locker’. Kathryn had struggled to find anyone willing to finance the film and when one eventually did, the investor doubted whether the $15 million costs to make it would be recouped at the box office.
‘The Hurt Locker’ went on to take nearly $50 million worldwide.
6. Bafta has nominated a woman for Best Direction just seven times in 50 years
Kathryn Bigelow has been nominated for it twice and remains the only female winner, having received the prize for ‘The Hurt Locker’.
7. It took until 2002 for a black woman to win the Best Actress Oscar
Halle Berry’s emotional victory speech went down in Oscars history, but fast forward to July 2017, and the actor admitted feeling her win was “meaningless”, citing the Academy’s failure to improve diversity as the reason for her feelings.
“It meant nothing,” she said. “I thought it meant something, but I think it meant nothing.”
8. And there hasn’t been a winner who isn’t white since
Just seven women of colour have been nominated for the prize in the 16 years since Halle’s win.
9. Haing S. Ngor remains the only Asian actor to win the Best Supporting Actor Oscar
He triumphed in 1985, for his portrayal of Dith Pran in ‘The Killing Fields’.
11. Barbra Streisand is the only woman to win Best Director at the Golden Globes
If you’re noticing a pattern when it comes to the director awards, it’s probably because just 4.2% of women direct films in the first place, which means that when it comes to award ceremonies, there are far more films from male directors to choose from.
12. This year, the Best Cinematography category has its first ever female nominee
Congratulations are in order for Rachel Morrison, who worked on ‘Mudbound’. But should this really have taken until 2018? We’re not so sure.