Women in Film: Kicking Ass, Taking Names, Still Being Ignored

by Daisy Becerra


At a time when most loyal moviegoers are either Latin American or female (or both), it’s taken a hell of a while for the film industry to catch up with the changing scene. This week, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) released its star-studded list of invited members, and they’ve made some improvement from last year.

Those who accept membership make up the elite class of film industry pros that decides who gets Oscars next year. Out of the 276 invitees, 31 percent are women—an increase from last year’s 28 percent. 

The new list of invitees comes after AMPAS drew criticism last year for its lack of diversity and reputation for being an “old white man’s club.” 31 percent is a start, but the AMPAS is still so far from giving talented lady film pros (especially women of color) the recognition they deserve. There are stories and people to showcase, AMPAS. With this year’s list taking note of industry leaders like Emmanuelle Riva, Julie Delpy, Lena Dunham, and Rosario Dawson, you know there’s got to be more!

Here are five great women who did make the Academy’s list – if you don’t know them yet, read up:


1. Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy

As Pakistan’s first ever Oscar-winner, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy started to write investigative pieces at the age of 14. With over 16 films under her belt, Obaid-Chinoy has been lauded as one of today’s most influential journalists. Her film Saving Face, revealed the stories of women attacked by acid in Pakistan. It won the Academy Award for Best Documentary (Short Subject) in 2012.


 2. Amy Ziering

The Invisible War prompted a much needed storm after its release, with critics lauding the film for exposing a culture of widespread sexual assault in the United States military. Producer Amy Ziering received a nomination for Best Documentary Feature. Although the film lost to Searching for Sugar Man, it was credited for initiating changes in military policy. We’re expecting more game-changing works produced by this Hollywood power woman.


3. Sarah Polley


As both an actress and screenwriter, Sarah Polley debuted on the director’s chair with 2008’s Away from Her, resulting in her first Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. Her latest film and first feature documentary, Stories We Tell, unravels the story behind a family secret. At only 34, Polley has riveted audiences with her touching and revealing stories about marriage, friendship, and family.


4. Sandra Oh

When she’s not making us cry on Grey’s Anatomy as the sensationally cynical Christina Yang, Sandra Oh’s creates quirky and memorable characters in independent classics like Hard Candy, Rabbit Hole, and of course, Sideways. It’s about time, Academy. Here’s to one of our favorite Canadian trailblazers.


5. Ava DuVernay

As the first African-American woman to win the Sundance Film Festival’s Best Director Prize, Ava DuVernay made her mark as one of the most applauded up-and-coming filmmakers in the industry. Her 2012 independent film Middle of Nowhere drew universal acclaim for its heartbreaking portrayal of a woman dealing with her husband’s incarceration. Watch out, Academy. DuVernay is a spellbinding force. 


The work of these women has created praise, critical acclaim, and potential for change. As we both celebrate and demand more recognition for film-savvy, kick-ass ladies, AMPAS, there are at least five things you got right this time.


Source: The Los Angeles Times.

Photos via The Daily Mail.


You may also like

Get the print magazine.

The best of BUST in your inbox!

Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter

About Us

Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

©2023 Street Media LLC.  All Right Reserved.