Guerrilla Girls: Oscar Billboard Favorite 



Mar 9 2002


Los Angeles CA

OSCAR UPDATE: After our billboard went up in Hollywood in 2002, Denzel Washington and Halle Berry won Oscars for their performances. In recent years, Mo’Nique, Octavia Spencer and Lupita Nyongo’o became the fifth, sixth and seventh black women in 86 years to win an Oscar for acting; Geoffrey Fletcher and John Ridley became the first black men to win for screenwriting, and Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win Best Director (and only the 4th ever nominated.)

A billboard at Highland and Melrose in Hollywood, March 1-31, 2002
Presented by the Guerrilla Girls and Alice Locas, a group of film makers
We decided it was time for a little realism in Hollywood, so we erected a billboard at Melrose and Highland in Los Angeles where for the month of March, 2002 we presented THE ANATOMICALLY CORRECT OSCAR. We redesigned the old boy so he more closely resembled the white males who take him home each year! We got a lot of attention, from as far away as Europe and Australia, most of it very sympathetic. And guess what: at the Academy Awards Ceremony on March 25, Halle Berry became the first ever African-American woman to win Best Actress and Denzel Washington the second ever African-American man to win Best Actor. We're very happy about that, but the film industry still has a long way to go.

Did you know that no woman has ever won the Oscar for Best Director, and that only two have ever been nominated? That 94% of the writing awards have gone to men? Or that only 3% of all the acting awards--lead and supporting--have ever gone to people of color.

Why are women and people of color shunned by Oscar? Because they're shunned by the film industry. Hollywood likes to think of itself as cool, edgy and ahead of its time, but it actually lags way behind the rest of society in employing women and people of color in top positions. 96% of major films are directed by males. No woman has ever won an Oscar for Cinematography or Sound. Even 85% of the make-up awards have gone to men.

Sure, it's great that three African-Americans were nominated for Acting Awards this year (for the first time in 30 years.) Meanwhile, Latinos account for only 5% of movie roles, Asians 2%, Native Americans .02%. Female actors get only 25% of starring roles. And the role of the wife in A Beautiful Mind (for which Jennifer Connelly received Best Supporting Actress) was whitewashed: the real woman was a Latina, born in El Salvador. In the movie she was ethnicless and accentless.

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