Dr. Stacy L. Smith and the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative and the Adobe Foundation have collaborated to examine the gender and race/ethnicity of Academy Award® nominees and winners. Our analysis begins with the first Academy Awards® in 1929 and continues throughout each year to include nominees in 2023. The findings shed light on how the industry has changed and which categories have improved, especially following the 2015 conversations around April Reign's #OscarsSoWhite. The results focus on feature-length films and are grouped by indicator (gender, race/ethnicity) and by category. Only differences of 5 percentage points or greater will be demarcated as change.In addition to the results of the study, the groups have launched a poll to understand who audiences think should win this year’s awards. See the results here
GenderOf the 13,253 nominees at the Academy Awards® since 1929, 17% were women and 83% were men. The ratio of men to women nominees was 5 to 1. Sixteen percent of all winners across the last 95 years were women. Less than 2% of nominees were women of color. The first woman of color was nominated in 1936 (Merle Oberon). Of all Academy Award® winners, women of color were 2%. The first woman of color to win an Oscar® did so in 1940 (Hattie McDaniel).
Race/EthnicityOf the 13,252 nominees since 1929, 6% were from underrepresented racial/ethnic groups. The ratio of white to underrepresented nominees is 17 to 1. The first underrepresented nominee appeared in 1936 (Achmed Abdullah, Merle Oberon). Six percent of all winners were from underrepresented racial/ethnic groups. The first person of color to win an Academy Award® did so in 1940 (Hattie McDaniel).
Impact of #OscarsSoWhiteWhen April Reign launched #OscarsSoWhite in 2015, she tapped into a longstanding frustration and anger over the lack of people of color nominated for an Academy Award.® To understand the impact of #OscarsSoWhite, we examined whether nominations for people of color changed in the 8 years following the launch of #OscarsSoWhite (2016-2023) compared to the 8 years prior (2008-2015). There have been notable increases in nominations for people of color across 16 of 19 categories examined- this is 84% of the categories assessed. Additionally, the overall percentage of underrepresented nominees more than doubled from 8% (pre #OscarsSoWhite) to 17% (post #OscarsSoWhite).
Communities of ColorBeyond overall statistics by category, it is important to understand the inclusion of specific racial/ethnic groups at the Academy Awards®. In this section, we move from looking at each category to thinking holistically about how communities of color are represented over time and across awards. The results reveal where disparities for different groups exist and provide unique insights not included in other sections.
The aim of this website is more than just informational. While we desire that journalists, film executives, critics, students, and other industry professionals will utilize the findings on this site, we also want change. As a consumer of film, your voice matters. You can make your voice heard by posting or tweeting findings from this site. After all, a single tweet by April Reign helped to create long overdue change at the Academy Awards.® Besides posting and tweeting, please participate in our Oscars® poll. We need to let the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (AMPAS) know that consumers are not only watching but may be recognizing outstanding achievements in film that differ from the traditionally white, cisgendered, male voting members whose choices ultimately result in the coveted statues. The data are clear: change is overdue. You can be part of ensuring that it not only continues, but moves at a much faster pace.