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For Your Consideration: Women Directors Missing From the Oscars

Saturday, February 25th, 2012

This video has been tearing up the web, as well it should.

As far as I can tell, it’s the work of Melissa Silverstein, and she’s absolutely right about everything she says.

Women created the cinema. Alice Guy was arguably the first person to make a film with a plot, La fée aux choux (The Cabbage Patch Fairy, 1896); the first to make a film with sound; the first to make a film in hand-stenciled color; the first to make a film longer than 1 minute; the first to make a multi-reel film; and she started her long career in 1896, long before D.W. Griffith even thought of making a film. Her contemporaries were Georges Méliès, The Lumière Brothers, and numerous others, but Alice Guy’s more than 354 films stand as a monumental achievement at the dawn of cinema.

As Ms. Silverstein points out, “in 2011, only 5% of the top grossing films in Hollywood were directed by Women. The number has decreased since 1998. In 84 years only 4 women — Lina Wertmuller, Jane Campion, Sofia Coppola and Kathryn Bigelow — have been nominated for best director. One 1 has won.

Please feel free to send this video out far and wide, and on Sunday, remember that women directors voices and visions are missing from this very large cultural conversation. Telling people this is a cultural problem and not just a gender equity problem is a first step.”

Happy to help. A change would definitely do you good . . .

For more information on women in film, check out Gwendolyn Audrey Foster’s book Women Film Directors: An International Bio-Critical Dictionary, by clicking this link.

About the Author

Wheeler Winston Dixon

Wheeler Winston Dixon, Ryan Professor of Film Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, is an internationally recognized scholar and writer of film history, theory and criticism. He is the author of numerous books and more than 70 articles on film and appears regularly in national media outlets discussing film and culture trends. Frame by Frame is a collection of his thoughts on a number of those topics. To contact Prof. Dixon for an interview, reach him at 402.472.6064 or wdixon1@unl.edu.

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