‘Barbie’ Ruled the Box Office, but 2023 Was Tough for Women in Hollywood

When Greta Gerwig did not receive an Oscar nomination last month for best director for “Barbie,” despite the film’s nod for best picture and its status as a global box office phenomenon, the news revived scrutiny over gender diversity among the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ membership.

The directors’ branch, which chooses the five nominees for that Oscar category, is 25 percent female. Over all, 34 percent of the academy’s more than 10,000 members are women.

“The academy, like our industry, should reflect the world in which we live,” said David Heyman, a producer of “Barbie.” “The fact that it doesn’t is just wrong.”

In 2016, the academy — reacting to the #OscarsSoWhite backlash after two straight years of all-white acting nominees — announced its A2020 initiative, meant to double the number of women and people of color among its membership within five years. In June 2020, it said it had achieved those goals.

Since then, however, the percentage of women in the academy has grown by one point, to 34 percent. (Academy members may choose not to identify as a man or a woman. Other choices include “agender,” “nonbinary,” “other,” “prefer to self-describe” and “prefer not to say.”) The percentage of people of color has dropped one point, to 18 percent.

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