Spirit Awards 1986-2015: So Male, So White, So Straight

Spirit Awards: Best Feature, First 30 Years, 1986-2015

precious_posterThe Spirit Awards, the Oscars for Independent films, celebrate this year their 30th anniversary.

I have followed and often attended the Spirit Awards ceremonies (always a day before the Oscar) from the very beginning.

You would expect these awards to be more culturally diverse in terms of gender, race, sexual orientation, and other variables.



But you would be wrong!

When it comes to the top award, Best feature, the Spirit Awards are just as white and male-dominated as the Oscar Awards.

Black Directors of Best Feature

12_years_a_slave_8In three decades, only two films have been directed by black artists, both over the past five years. In 2009, Precious, directed by African American Lee Daniels, won Best feature, and last year, 12 Years a Slave, helmed by the black British director Steve McQueen, won the top prize.



Only Two Films Directed by Women

4qrsmsxsvjmIn 30 years, only two of the top winners (less than 7 percent) have been directed by women: Rambling Rose in 1991, helmed by Martha Coolidge, and Lost in Translation in 2003, directed by Sofia Coppola.








Gay Directors?










Only three top winners have been directed by gay directors, two of them white males:  Gods and Monsters by Bill Condon in 1998, and Far From Heaven by Todd Haynes in 2002.  The third is gay black director Lee Daniels, for Precious.

So much for diversity.