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Geena Davis receives honorary Oscar for work against gender bias

SABC News Geena Davis  Reuters - Geena Davis receives honorary Oscar for work against gender bias

Actress Geena Davis urged Hollywood filmmakers to take new steps to address an ongoing gender imbalance in media as she accepted an honorary Oscar on Sunday for her work to promote more women on screen.

While equality for women lags throughout U.S. society, it is even worse in film and television, said Davis, the “Thelma and Louise” star who founded a non-profit research group called the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media in 2004.

“However abysmal the numbers are in real life, it’s far worse in fiction – where you make it up!” said Davis as she accepted the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. “We make it worse.”

The actress spoke to an audience of hundreds of Hollywood power players at the Governors Awards, an annual black-tie event hosted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, the group that hands out the Oscars.

Davis, who won a supporting actress Oscar in 1989 for “The Accidental Tourist,” said gender inequality on screen “can be fixed absolutely overnight.”

Other honorees were Wes Studi, who was recognized for his commitment to authentic portrayals of Native Americans in films from “Dances with Wolves” to “The Last of the Mohicans,” and “Blue Velvet” filmmaker David Lynch.

Italian writer-director Lina Wertmuller also received a lifetime achievement award from the film academy. Wertmuller was the first of just five women ever to be nominated for best director. That was in 1977 for her film “Seven Beauties.”

Like Davis, Wertmuller called out Hollywood for tending to favour men, according to actress Isabella Rossellini, who translated Wermuller’s acceptance speech from Italian to English.

“She would like to change the name Oscar to Anna,” Rossellini said.


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