News Archive

Here's the latest on the Institute and Geena Davis.

October 28, 2019

Governors Awards: Calls for gender parity; selfies with Dr. Ruth

During his opener to the Governors Awards on Sunday night, Jamie Foxx name-checked his “Django Unchained” collaborators Quentin Tarantino and Leonardo DiCaprio, heaped praise on Tom Hanks with such enthusiasm that Hanks had no choice but to stand and do a little dance in response, and then finally brought a reluctant Eddie Murphy on stage because … why not? But the real charge in the ceremony came a bit later when two of the evening’s honorees, actress and activist Geena Davis and Italian director Lina Wertmüller, called on film industry leaders and academy members to take a hard look at gender inequity in movies and actually do something about it. Davis asked studio executives and producers to do an immediate gender and diversity pass on their projects, noting that “no matter how abysmal the numbers are in real life, they’re far worse in fiction.” “People characterize Hollywood as full of bleeding-heart liberals — hardly!” Davis said. “If we are supposed to be a bunch of ‘intersectional, gender-fluid feminists,’ then let’s do it up right.” Read More…

October 28, 2019

Governors Awards: Famed director calls for ‘a female Oscar’ named Anna

Such was the siren call sent by famed Italian director Lina Wertmüller at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ 11th annual Governors Awards Sunday night, as the 91-year-old received her honorary Oscar. Also honored was Geena Davis, 63, who was presented with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for her work as an advocate for gender equality. Tom Hanks introduced his “A League of Their Own” co-star, happily bringing the crowd back to their Dottie Hinson and Jimmy Dugan days. Davis said if those gathered were going to be labeled as Hollywood liberals, they may as well lean in and take action addressing gender disparity in scripts. “If we’re supposed to be a bunch of gender-fluid intersectional feminists, then by god, let’s do it right!” she deadpanned. Read More…

October 28, 2019

91-Year-Old Lina Wertmuller Steals the Show at Oscars Governors Awards

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences made statements about inclusion, diversity, gender equity and creative risk-taking on Sunday night at the 11th annual Governors Awards, but it also learned a big lesson as it was making those statements. The lesson: Sometimes, it doesn’t matter what else you do, because somebody is going to come along and steal the whole damn show. In this case, that somebody was Lina Wertmüller, the 91-year-old Italian director who was given an Honorary Academy Award for provocative, groundbreaking films became the first woman ever nominated for Best Director. On a night that also bestowed honorary Oscars on director David Lynch and actor Wes Studi and gave the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award to actress and gender-parity activist Geena Davis, the diminutive and spunky Wertmüller became almost everybody’s highlight. Read More…

October 28, 2019

Governors Awards: The Season’s First Oscars Handed Out Sunday Night To Most Diverse Field Of Honorees Ever

It was an historic night at the Governors Awards on Sunday, and not just because Lina Wertmuller wants Oscar to go through a gender change. Ninety-one-year old Wertmuller was honored in part as a ground-breaker by being the first Oscar-nominated female director. Geena Davis took the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for tirelessly promoting gender parity in media and movies through her foundation. Wes Studi became the first Native American ever to receive an Oscar. And David Lynch got his long deserved statuette for being, well, David Lynch. Read More…

October 28, 2019

Stars advocate for progress at honorary Oscars event

Inequality in the film industry got a high-profile spotlight at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ 11th annual Governors Awards. Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award recipient Geena Davis asked everyone in the room to not make another movie without doing a “gender and diversity pass” on the script first. Read More…

October 28, 2019

David Lynch Gave the Shortest Oscar Acceptance Speech Imaginable

Brevity is not a virtue typically observed at award shows, but David Lynch gave it a spin at Sunday night’s Governors Awards. The Mulholland Drive director was on hand to accept an honorary Academy Award—alongside fellow honorees Geena Davis, Wes Studi, and Lina Wertmüller—and he did so quickly, delivering a speech that clocked in at well under a minute. “To the Academy and everyone who helped me along the way, thanks,” he said. Then, he spoke to the Oscar: “You have a very nice face. Good night.” Or did he say “fate”? According to Vanity Fair’s Anthony Breznican, who was on the scene, there was some debate in the room about which one he said—and given that it’s David Lynch, either seems entirely possible. Read More…

October 28, 2019

The Oscars Are Trying To Make Up For A Century Of Ignoring Women Directors

On Sunday night, the Governors Awards spent the majority of its time preoccupied with the place within the industry of a group of artists who aren’t a minority at all: women. Along with Studi and director David Lynch (Blue Velvet, Twin Peaks) — whose acceptance speech was just 33 seconds long — the Governors Awards this year celebrated Italian filmmaker Lina Wertmüller, the first woman ever to be nominated for Best Director, and actor Geena Davis, who earned the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for her pioneering efforts to bring gender parity to on screen representation. In her acceptance speech, Davis cited research from her namesake Institute on Gender in Media that 81% of characters who have jobs in feature films are men, and the number of women depicted in top-level jobs on screen is even lower than in real life. “So in other words, however abysmal the numbers are in real life, it’s far worse in fiction, where you make it up!” Davis said, to knowing laughter and applause. “We make it worse than real life.” Read More…

October 28, 2019

Geena Davis wins honorary Oscar for fighting onscreen gender bias

U.S. actress Geena Davis was awarded an honorary Oscar at the 2019 Governors Awards on Sunday for her efforts to promote a more balanced representation of women onscreen. Davis was handed the famous statuette, representing the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, for her work as founder of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media which she established in 2004. Previous winners of the award include Audrey Hepburn, Oprah Winfrey, Elizabeth Taylor and Angelina Jolie. In her acceptance speech, Davis repeated a call for gender equality in film and television, saying it was a problem that “can be fixed absolutely overnight,” according to a Reuters report. Read More…

October 27, 2019

Geena Davis’ 8 Essential Film Performances, From ‘Thelma & Louise’ to ‘The Fly’

Geena Davis won her first Academy Award in 1989 for her supporting turn in Lawrence Kasdan’s “The Accidental Tourist,” but Sunday night will receive one of the Academy’s highest honors, the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, for her work as an activist in Hollywood. Since founding the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media in 2004, Davis has used her global pulpit as a celebrated actress of four decades (going back to 1982’s “Tootsie”) to champion parity for women and challenge female stereotypes throughout entertainment. Looking back on her storied filmography, it’s easy to see how that passion for authenticity in storytelling translated through work in front of the camera as well, with powerful roles in films such as “Thelma & Louise,” “The Long Kiss Goodnight,” “A League of Their Own,” and more films that queried the status quo for female representation onscreen. Read More…

October 27, 2019

Geena Davis Accepts an Honorary Oscar at Governors Awards 2019!

Geena Davis looks stunning while accepting her award at the 2019 Governors Awards on Sunday night (October 27) at the Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood. The 63-year-old actress, who previously won the Best Supporting Actress award for her work in The Accidental Tourist, received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. The award is given “to an individual in the motion picture arts and sciences whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry.” Read More…

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