Unveiled: The chubby Oscar

2002-03-01 10:50
Los Angeles - As Hollywood whips itself into a frenzy ahead of the Academy Awards, a group of women activists on Wednesday unveiled a specially revamped "chubby Oscar" to protest white, male domination of Tinseltown.

Two women's outfits, the Guerilla Girls and Alice Locas, are to mount a giant billboard in the heart of Hollywood depicting the "anatomically correct oscar" in the ungainly shape of a pudgy, middle-aged man.

"We decided it was time for a little realism in Hollywood," they said in a statement. "So we redesigned the old boy so that he closely resembles the white males who take him home each year."

The billboard, on view for the month of March, offers a few pointed statistics alongside the figure of a round white man, his hands covering his genitalia.

"Best Director has never been awarded to a woman," the billboard proclaims. "94 percent of the writing awards have gone to men" and "only three percent of the acting awards have gone to people of colour," it adds.

The campaign comes just weeks ahead of the climax of movieland's year, the March 24 Oscars ceremony, to be held a few blocks away from the defiant campaign billboard.

The Guerrilla Girls was formed in 1985 and is made up of women artists, writers, performers and filmmakers who have made their mission to fight discrimination.

The group often use attention grabbing techniques during film events to highlight their cause, typically wearing gorilla masks while providing statistics they see as demonstrating the alleged injustices of Hollywood.

Alice Locas describes itself simply as a "mysterious group of women filmmakers".

The Guerilla Girls, who describe themselves as "masked avengers", said women and non-white people are shunned by the Oscars "because they're shunned by the film industry".

"Hollywood likes to think of itself as cool, edgy and ahead of its time, but it actually lags way behind the rest of society in employing women and people of colour in top positions," the group said.

It cited further statistics including the fact that 93 percent of major films are directed by men, while no woman has ever won an Oscar for cinematography or sound.

"Sure, it's great that three African-Americans were nominated for acting awards this year," it said. "But it's been 29 years since that last happened, and we still have to see if any of them win."

Black stars Denzel Washington, Will Smith and Halle Berry have all been nominated for best actor awards.

Last year, members of both groups targeted the independent Sundance Film Festival for attention, distributing stickers that proclaimed that the US Senate was more "progressive than Hollywood".

The campaign material said while nine percent of US senators were women, only four percent of film directors were female. - Sapa-AFP

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