It is common knowledge that women are nominated at the Academy Awards due to the gendered categories like Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, etc. However, not many women receive nods in the non-gendered categories such as Best Cinematographer, Best Original Score, etc.
This is not because there aren’t enough talented women in the industry, it is due to the lack of opportunities women are given to showcase their talent and share their skills, gifts with the world. Today, we talk about the categories at the 94th Academy Awards that have one or two women in the running.
Best Cinematography – Ari Wegner (‘The Power of the Dog’)
Ari Wegner is an Australian cinematographer, has been nominated for Best Cinematographer at the Academy Awards for her work in ‘The Power of the Dog’, making her only the second woman to be nominated in the category after Rachel Morrison in 2018 for the film ‘Mudbound’. Wegner went to film school. In the following years, she worked in the independent scene. Then, in 2016 she shot the Florence Pugh starrer ‘Lady Macbeth,’ and next was Janicza Bravo’s 2020 film ‘Zola’. The former brought her to Sundance for the first time.
“It’s been a surreal ride for Wegner since Oscar nominations were announced last month, and she is not taking the honor for granted. The statistics, she knows, are grim for female cinematographers in Hollywood,” wrote the Economic Times. According to a survey of the top 250 films of 2021, only six percent had female cinematographers. This number has not budged since 1998 with only two having been nominated for an Oscar in the 94 years of the awards. The first was Rachel Morrison, in 2018, for ‘Mudbound’, “and yet she does see a glimmer of hope in that second statistic,” states the Economic Times.
For 90 years, women did not receive any nods at the Academy Awards. However, in the last five years, two women have been nominated in the category. The Economic Times states: “Change, she believes, is possible if people give women the opportunity to shoot big, high-profile movies.”
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From Dion Beebe to Greig Fraser (who is nominated for ‘Dune‘), director Jane Campion has worked with some of the great cinematographers over the years. She said she “wanted to work with a female DP” on ‘The Power of the Dog’ “and part of that decision meant taking a chance on someone.” Rachel Morrison was also hired by a woman, Dee Rees, the director of the 2017 film ‘Mudbound’.
“I think about how much we’ve missed out on. All that talent that could have been there that we never got to see in the past 100 years, not because the talent wasn’t there, but the gate wasn’t ever open. It’s the film industry’s loss,” Wegner said. “Now I think it’s time we can do some catch up.”
Wegner’s work on Campion’s award-season favorite ‘The Power of the Dog’ has already generated wide recognition as she became the first woman in the British Society of Cinematographers’ seventy-three-year history to win its feature prize. She was also a BAFTA nominee. Wegner won an award for best cinematography at the Critics Choice Awards. Winning the Oscar would mean Wegner will become the first woman in the academy’s ninety-five-year history to land the prize.
Best Director – Jane Campion (‘The Power of the Dog’)
Jane Campion’s first Oscar nomination for directing came in 1994. She was nominated for ‘The Piano’ at the 66th Academy Awards (she also won an Academy Award for original screenplay that year. Her second nomination came this year for her work in ‘The Power of the Dog’, making her the first woman with two Oscar nominations for directing. She was also named Best Director at the 79th Golden Globe Awards (2022), 75th BAFTA Awards (2022), and the 27th Critics Choice Awards (2022) for her outstanding work on the film.
In the history of the Academy Awards, only seven women have been nominated for Best Director at the Oscars with Lina Wertmülle being the first woman to be nominated for directing in 1976 for the film ‘Seven Beauties’. Then, the next time a woman received a nod for directing was in 1993 and the director was Campion. In 2009, Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win the Best Director for ‘The Hurt Locker’.
The first time two directors were nominated in the category was in 2020 when Chloé Zhao became the first woman of color to win and be nominated for Best Director. Emerald Fennell, too, received a nod for Best Director for the film ‘Promising Young Woman’ that year. Directors Sofia Coppola and Greta Gerwig’s first nominations at the Academy Awards came in 2003 and 2017, respectively. Coppola was nominated for her work in ‘Lost in Translation’ while Gerwig received a nomination for ‘Ladybird’.
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Best Film Editing – Pamela Martin (‘King Richard’)
Pamela Martin is an American film and television editor best known for work in ‘King Richard’, ‘Battle of the Sexes’ (2017) and ‘The Fighter’ (2010). She has been nominated for Best Film Editing for ‘King Richard’. However, this isn’t her first nomination, Martin received her first nod for ‘The Fighter’ (2010). The first woman nominated in the category was Anne Bauchens for the film ‘Cleopatra’ in 1934. In the year 1940, Bauchens became the first woman to win an Oscar for Best Film Editing for her work in ‘North West Mounted Police’.
Thelma Schoonmaker’s third win in the category for ‘The Departed’ (2006) tied her for the record for most wins in Best Film Editing. She also made history as she tied the record for most nominations in Best Film Editing category (eighth nomination) when she was nominated for ‘The Irishman’ (2019). The first black woman to be nominated for Best Film Editing is Joi McMillon for ‘Moonlight’ (2016) and she shared it with Nat Sanders. Last year’s winner of the Best Director prize Chloé Zhao became the first woman (and the first woman of color, overall) to be nominated for directing, editing, writing, and producing.
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Best Original Score – Germaine Franco (‘Encanto’)
Only nine women have been nominated for Best Original Score since 1974. Angela Morley was the first transgender woman to be nominated in this and any category. Morley’s first nomination came for the film ‘The Little Prince’. Germaine Franco has been nominated for Best Original Score for Disney’s film ‘Encanto’ this year. If she triumphs at the Academy Awards this year, she will only be the fifth woman to win this prize.
“The love of music brings me here… a Latina from El Paso, Texas, a drummer girl, composer, songwriter, lover of tunes and anything that makes noise,” is how the first woman to score a Disney animated film, Franco, responded to the news that she had been nominated for an Oscar for best original score for Disney’s latest hit animation, Encanto, as per BBC.
BBC states: “Franco has been thrilled with the film’s reception and the soundtrack’s chart-storming performance,” as she said: “The soundtrack is still sailing up there. The success is exciting, gratifying and so exhilarating. We’ve been going through this pandemic for so long… and to know that kids are enjoying it, and parents are enjoying watching their kids, that is really the best result we could hope for.”
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Franco has worked on scores of ‘Coco’, ‘The Lorax’ and ‘How to Train Your Dragon 2’.
“I did my best to bring Colombia to me and imagine what it was like, and also I did a lot of research, listening to many, many hours of Colombian music from all genres and periods,” she says. “Classical, indigenous, Afro Colombian… I also decided I must use the Colombian instruments.”
“I just thought, this has to be rich. Women’s voices are a big part of Colombian music. And so I actually had a 12-piece choir on the track Antonio’s Voice,” says Franco. “Those instruments tell a story about culture from thousands of years ago.”
The previous winner of the trophy is Hildur Guðnadóttir, an Icelandic musician who won an Oscar for her work in ‘Joker’ in 2020. Guðnadóttir is a trained cellist who has also composed scores for movies like ‘The Revenant’, ‘Mary Magdalene’, ‘Chernobyl’. She has also performed the instrument on scores for ‘Prisoners’, ‘Sicario’, and ‘Arrival’.
Best Sound – Denise Yarde (‘Belfast’) and Tara Webb (‘The Power of the Dog’)
Denise Yarde (‘Belfast’) [Shared with Simon Chase, James Mather and Niv Adiri] and Tara Webb (‘The Power of the Dog’) [Shared with Richard Flynn and Robert Mackenzie] are the two women who are the Best Sound nominees at the 2022 Academy Awards. Since the first woman, Anna Behlmer, was nominated for her work on ‘Braveheart’ (1995) alongside Andy Nelson, Scott Millan, and Brian Simmons, just two women have won the award in this category.
The first woman to win for Best Sound Mixing is Lora Hirschberg for her work in ‘Inception’ (2010), Hirschberg shared the trophy with Gary Rizzo and Ed Novick. While the second and last woman to win an award for Best Sound at the Oscars was Michelle Couttolenc for ‘Sound of Metal’ (2020) who shared it with Nicolas Becker, Jaime Baksht, Carlos Cortés Navarrete, and Phillip Bladh.
If Yarde, who is known for her work ‘Robin Hood’, is victorious at this year’s Academy Awards, she will become the third woman and first black woman to win the award. Webb’s works include working on sound on the films ‘Mortal Kombat’, ‘Hackdsaw Ridge’, and ‘The King’, If she triumphs at the Academy Awards, she will become only the third person in history to win the award.
Best Documentary Short Subject – Elizabeth Mirzaei (‘Three Songs for Benazir’)
Elizabeth Mirzaei is a director and cinematographer known for ‘Laila at the Bridge’ (2018). She received a nod at the Academy Awards for the Best Documentary Short Subject for ‘Three Songs for Benazir’, with her being the only woman up for the award. Elizabeth shares the nomination with Gulistan Mirzaei.
The Netflix short ‘Three Songs for Benazir’ tells a rare love story and reveals a touching truth that “celebrates the bond of Shaista and Benazir, a young couple attempting to make a life together in a camp for internally displaced Afghans in Kabul,” as per Deadline.
The first woman to be nominated in this category was Altina Schinasi for ‘George Grosz’ Interregnum’ (1960), which she shared with Charles Carey. Whereas in 1973, Martina Huguenot van der Linden became the first woman to win the Best Documentary Short award for ‘This Tiny World’ (1972).
Martina shared the prize with Charles Huguenot van der Linden. Just one woman, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, has won a trophy twice in this category. Sharmeen first became a Best Documentary Short winner in 2012 for ‘Saving Face’ (2011), which she shared with Daniel Junge. Her second Oscar wins in the category came in 2016 for ‘A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness’ (2015) in 2016.
Best Short Film (Animated) – Joanna Quinn (‘Affairs of the Art’)
Faith Hubley was the first woman to be nominated and win the Best Short Film (Animated) Academy Award in the year 1963. Faith’s win was shared with John Hubley for the short film ‘The Hole’ “(1962). This year Joanna Quinn received a nod at the Oscars for her short film ‘Affairs of the Art’ and she shares this nomination with Les Mills. However, Quinn’s first nomination came in 1998 for the film ‘Famous Fred’. Joanna Quinn is the only woman nominated in the category this year.
Best Short Film (Live Action) – Maria Brendle and Nadine Lüchinger (‘Ala Kachuu – Take and Run’) and K.D. Dávila (‘Please Hold’)
At the Oscars 2022, three women (nominated for two films) are up for the Best Short Film (Live Action) award. Maria Brendle and Nadine Lüchinger received a nod for their film ‘Ala Kachuu – Take and Run’ and K.D. Dávila was nominated for her short film ‘Please Hold’, which she shares with Levin Menekse.
Shirley Clarke was the first woman to be nominated in the category in 1960 for her film ‘Skyscraper’ (1959) that she shared with Willard Van Dyke and Irving Jacoby. In 1970, Joan Keller Stern became the first woman to win the Best Live Action Short Film Academy Award for the film ‘The Magic Machines’ (1969).