Emma Stone had the honor of introducing the nominees for the Best Director category at the 2018 Academy Awards, but a comment the Oscar-winning actor made during the broadcast about the overwhelmingly male lineup has caused a stir online.
"It is the director whose indelible touch is reflected on every frame," Stone began. "It is the director who, shot by shot, scene by scene, day by day, works with every member of the crew to further the story."
"And it is the vision of the director that takes an ordinary movie and turns it into a work of art," Stone continued.
But the main point of contention came when she ended her introduction by saying, "These four men, and Greta Gerwig, created their own masterpieces this year."
In early January at the Golden Globes, Natalie Portman made a similar comment, pointing out the all-male nominees in the directing category while presenting the award with Ron Howard.
"And here all the all-male nominees," Portman said flatly, right after Howard talked about how honored the two were to be there to issue the award.
During that broadcast, Del Toro was the only person of color nominated and moments later went on to snag the top honor.
Nolan, Steven Spielberg (The Post), Martin McDonagh (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), and Ridley Scott (All the Money in the World) were the other nominees.
Unlike Portman's, Stone's comment seems to have missed the mark, with some people calling her words "peak white feminism," a phrase that has become shorthand for feminism that fails to decenter white women as sole bearers of the various sorts of systemic oppression.
People were annoyed that Stone seemed to skim over the fact that two of the men in the category were men of color, one black (Peele) and the other latino (Del Toro).
Others rallied behind that same point as well.
And more said Stone minimized "the achievements of the non-white male director nominees who worked so damn hard to get where they are."
Other were miffed by Stone's words because she'd been accused of whitewashing in the past. The actor played a fighter pilot who was one-quarter Chinese, one quarter Native Hawaiian in her 2015 film Aloha, which caused backlash at the time.
More jokes about that persisted after Stone finished her task onstage.
Though strides have been made in recent years to make the Oscars more inclusive, it's been widely reported that there's a disparity in the number of women directors hired to helm feature films.
In 2014, the ACLU of Southern California and the national ACLU Women's Rights Project found that women made up only 7% of the top-grossing Hollywood features.
And more recently, the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, founded by Professor Stacy L. Smith to "advance equality in entertainment," concluded that in addition to women being greatly underrepresented in film, the outlook is also grim for minority filmmakers.
"Only 5.2% of the 1,223 directors of 1,100 top films were Black, and 3.2% were Asian," according to the initiative.
"This translates into 31 individual Black directors and 20 Asian directors of popular movies released from 2007 to 2017."
Michael Blackmon is an entertainment writer with BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Michael Blackmon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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