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Female Directors Awarded at the 11th Annual Governors' Awards

Kevin Winter / Getty Images

Gena Davis, Lina Wertmüller, David Lynch and Wes Study at the 11th Annual Governors' Awards in Hollywood on October 27, 2019.


1; When actor Wes Study took the stage at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts of Science on Sunday night, she had to garner an honorary Oscar for decades of her indelible performances in dozens of films, including Dancing with the Wolves The Last of the Mohicans Warmth The New World Avatar

] and Enemies .

There was also a story to be made: Study is the first native

After receiving a triumphant standing ovation from many of Hollywood's greatest and powerful figures, Study burst into a big smile and began his acceptance speech with simple, powerful acclaim this is the moment for him and all native artists in the film industry.

"I just wanna say it's time!"

Kevin Winter / Getty Images

Study accepts his Honorary Academy Award at the Governors' Awards.

This has become a common sentiment for governor awards. Since its inception 11 years ago, the Academy has often used the annual event to acknowledge the achievements of minority artists who have been largely – or completely – ignored by the Oscars, including actors Sicily Tyson, Jackie Chan and James Earl Jones, and filmmakers Hayao Miyazaki, Charles Burnett, and Spike Lee.

On Sunday night, however, governor awards spend most of their time caring for a place in the industry for a group of non-minority artists: women.

Along with Studie and director David Lynch ( Blue Velvet, Twin Peaks ) – whose acceptance speech was only 33 seconds – the Governors' Awards this year celebrated Italian director Lina Wertmiller, the first woman ever to be Best Director nominee, and actor Gina Davis, who won the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for her pioneering efforts to bring gender parity to the screen.

In her acceptance In a speech, Davis cites a study by her namesake Gender Institute in the media that 81% of the characters who work in feature films are men, and the number of women portrayed at the highest screen level. is even smaller than it is in real life. [19659004] "So in other words, no matter how crazy the numbers are in real life, it's much worse in fiction where you make it up!", Davis said, knowing laughter and applause. "We make it worse than real life."

Davis evoked the general Hollywood stereotype of being filled with bleeding heart liberals who are champions of diversity.

" Hardly ," she said. "If we have to be a bunch of gender fluids, cross-sectional feminists, then by god, let's do it right!"

Davis emphasized that he was not just talking about writing more women as lead characters, which is that Hollywood is had to increase the number of women on screen across the board, regardless of role size. She suggested a simple solution: Take a script that's now ready for production, cross out a bunch of male characters' names and make them female instead.

"In one stroke, you created a few non-stereotypical characters that might prove even more interesting now that they've changed their gender," Davis said. She then paused for a study.

"And then threw me . Seriously. "

David really didn't get lost from Davis that she had a captivating audience of many of Hollywood's most successful and influential studio producers and executives – to attend a show with her countrymen and to campaign for her awards season . Therefore, it challenges the room with clear words: in the morning, everyone has to update their gender equality and racial diversity scenarios.

"Don't make another movie without doing it first," she says. [19659004] Following the ceremony, Davis told BuzzFeed News that she does not understand why her goal to dramatically increase the number of female characters cannot literally happen overnight.

Kevin Winter / Getty Images

Gina Davis walks onstage at Governors' Awards.

"The lowest hanging fruit in gender equality in the world, as well as in this industry, is on screen ," she said. "The next thing anyone does can be gender balanced. No need to talk. You don't have to wait for people to get selected or move in line. It's easy .

Whether Davis's common sense will resonate in male-dominated Hollywood executive ranks is another question. Of the many films arguing for Best Picture nomination this year, only two – Hustlers and Little Women – focus exclusively on women's stories. Hustlers director Lorene Scafaria told BuzzFeed News that only one studio, the independent STX Films, is ready to get a chance on their project.

"Honestly, there will be no real equality until we 'ask ourselves these questions,'" Skafaria said.

However, she emphasized that this year appeared to be a watershed for women creators, with many good films of the year – from the blockbuster Captain Marvel with an indie hit Goodbye – directed by women.

These directing opportunities certainly grow for women, but remain wildly uneven. compared to those for men.

"I'm so aware of how lucky I am and the fact that I'm here because I stand on the shoulders of all the women who came before me," director Mariel Heller ( Can You Ever Forgive Me? ) told BuzzFeed News after the Governors' Awards are over. Heller was at the event on Sunday night to support his latest film, the upcoming drama A Beautiful Neighborhood Day about children's television icon Fred Rogers (starring Tom Hanks). She said she was happy to feel that there are several more women who are joining her in the awards season this year, but she is still aware of the challenges that are still facing women in the film industry.

"I feel very hopeful, but I also feel aware of all the women who are not being given these opportunities," she said. "This is a complicated place."

The final award for the night, for Wertmüller, served as a stark reminder of how difficult it can be for women to find it so punitive. In a presentation to Wertmüller's Honorary Oscar, the director of the director Jane Campion (1993 Piano ) stated that she was asked to talk about the story of women who, like her, had won a Best Director nomination . [19659004] "It's a very short story," Campion said. "More Than Haiku."

From Wertmüller's nomination for Best Director for her 1976 film Seven Beauties Campion said that only four other women – herself, Sofia Coppola (2003) . lost in translation ), Catherine Bigelow (1945 Chest Cabinet ) and Greta Gerwig (2017 Lady Bird ) – were nominated for the same award. Only Bigelow won.

For comparison, there were 350 nominations for Best Director for Men.

"Amazingly unequal," Campion said.

Valerie Macon / Getty Images

Italian filmmaker Lina Wertmuller (wearing white glasses) and Isabella Rosselini (wearing a purple dress) speak on the scene at the governor's awards. John Ham and Sophie Loren stand in the background.

The ejection ratio was enough to throw the ballroom into stunned silence. (Governors' awards in themselves must achieve: Since 2009, 13 women have been honored, compared to 30 men.)

Then Wertmüller took the stage to accept his award and offered a delightful gesture to help The Oscars have corrected the gender imbalance for almost a century. The 91-year-old doesn't speak much English, so actor and fellow Italian Isabella Rosellini translated for her.

"Lina wants to dedicate an Oscar, but would like to change her name to an Oscar in a female name," Rossellini said, standing next to the Wertmiller elf. "She would like to call him Anna."

"So the women in the room," Rossellini concluded, "please shout, 'We want Anna, Oscar's wife! "

Many women and some men obliged.

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