OSCAR – the holy grail of Hollywood, and certainly the man I’d want on my arm at the red carpet. Known officially as the Academy Award of merit, I’ve been wondering why Oscar is male to begin with, and how he came to get his name… and have stumbled upon these facts on Oscar:

1. He weighs 8.5 pounds and is 13.5 inches tall. Or as we might know it – approx 3.9kgs and 34.3cm
2. He was designed by the then Academy’s committee chairman – Cedric Gibbons – who doodled a naked knight thrusting his sword into a reel of film.
3. Oscar is made from Brittanium, plated with silver, nickel, and copper, and then finished off in an impressive 24-karat gold
4. He hasn’t changed EXCEPT in 1945, when his pedestal was raised.
5. During World War II there was a metal shortage so Oscar was made of painted plaster. (Ripped off!) But not to worry-after the war was over, The Academy Awards board of directors replaced all the plaster with the real deal.
6. In 1989, it was decided that the presenters would say “And the Oscar goes to…” Instead of “And the winner is…” to reduce the competitive nature of the win. Rumour has it, that THIS YEAR’S awards will bring back the original line of “the winner is..”

I find this all quite fascinating. And interesting that Cedric Gibbons drew a man – knight in fact.

Oscar is without doubt the highest recognition one in Hollywood can receive… A golden globe may come close, but winning an Oscar redefines careers, draws crowds to the cinema box office, and establishes acceptable levels of quality in film-making.

And this highly esteemed award, this piece of metal that influences film makers, this precious honour and accolade that comes with a contract (Just ask Heath Ledgers family about that), is a male. And not only is Oscar a man, but he seems to LOVE men. Many more men have won the award than women, and if it weren’t for certain award categories – I question if Oscar went to any women AT ALL. Take out Best Supporting Actress, Best Actress and Best Costume Design… and the Oscars for women would be few and far between. Meanwhile this snippet – Walt Disney holds the record for the most Oscars with 26.

Sadly, women are still paid less in Hollywood despite the fact that the person with the MOST nominations to date is Meryl Streep with 16, and leading the way in the most consecutive nominations are Bette Davis & Greer Garson, followed closely by Lizzie Taylor. Consistent outstanding performances do not help to re-write the book of rules in Hollywood. How about this fact??? Only 2 women in 82 years have hosted the Oscars on their own (some have co-hosted with men) … Ellen DeGeneres and Whoopi Goldberg. Both are gay women right? Well both are pretty masculine anyway.

NEVER has a woman won for best directing. Only 4 have been nominated, and this year is the closest a female will be to winning with Kathryn Bigelow tipped to take out the award for The Hurt Locker. But she has to beat James Cameron. Nuff said.

The Los Angeles times reported this on women in Hollywood:
Although successful female directors appear to have gained higher profiles of late, the actual percentage of top films directed by women has remained static for 25 years at 7% to 9%, according to an annual study of women writers, directors, and producers of the 250 top-grossing films of the year by the Center for the Study of Women in Film and Television at San Diego State University.

“We’re running in place. There’s been no progress since 1987,” said Martha Lauzen, the center’s executive director.

For instance, neither Warner Bros, the world’s largest studio, nor Paramount Pictures hired a single female director last year, while Walt Disney Studios and Universal Studios hired just one apiece. No woman has ever been hired to direct an event picture with a budget of more than $100 million, the kind of film most valued by the Hollywood machine.

Whether the director of a film is a man or a woman has a correlation to how many women appear in the film. The population might be more than 50% female, but actresses nabbed only 29.9% of the 4,379 speaking parts in the 100 top-grossing films of 2007, according to a recently released study by Stacy L. Smith, a professor at the Annenberg School for Communications & Journalism at USC.

Only 2.7% of the directors on those films were women, but when they did step behind the camera, the percentage of female characters jumped dramatically, to as high as 44.6%, compared with 29.3% when the director was a man. Moreover, Smith said, the proportion of women on screen literally “hasn’t changed since the 1940s. It’s disheartening at best.”

So is Oscar just a physical representation of Hollywood studios attitudes and practises? Does Oscar dislike women… or does he just love men more? It’s not like they haven’t tried AND succeeded to prove that they are worthy of him, they have seduced that little gold statue relentlessly, putting in hours and hours of hard work…. a perfect example of one such woman is Kathyrn Bigelow.

For all I know the Best Director’s been announced Kathryn has won, and a female makes history. But Oscar, I’m watching you! And if I hear you’ve been at Elton’s after party dancing to Lady Gaga with your shirt off – I can only draw to one conclusion…. Gay much?


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