Hildur Gudnadottir won the Oscar for Best Original Score for “Joker” at the 2020 Oscars, which makes her the first female composer to win the award in 23 years.
What very few people know, however, is how unbelievably male-dominated the film scoring industry is.
We believe you can name a few film composers yourself, including Hanz Zimmer, Ennio Morricone, Howard Shore, John Williams, etc. However, try naming one female film composer, or at least recognize her by her name.
The men and women ratio in the industry is awful, and the actual statistics show the same.
The Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film had a report that showed that of the top 250 domestic box office films of 2018, 94 percent were scored by men.
The University of Southern California conducted a study in 2018 that found that of the top 1,100 fictional films from 2007 to 2017, male composers were included and credited 1200 times, while female composers were only credited 16 times.
This is such drastic underrepresentation that it can’t possibly be due to a lack of interest in women in the field.
The most famous and successful composers have always been men, and notably, almost exclusively white men, so men are automatically seen a the ablest composers. Male domination itself becomes a defining factor of the field, rather than talent, and female composers often hit a ceiling just because of their gender.
This is the reason why this Oscar that was won by Gudnadottir is a big deal, and Gudnadottir herself asked the girls, women, mothers, and daughters who hear the music bubbling within to speak up and raise our voices.