I finally watched the 2014 Emmy Awards.  Notable moments:

Noah Hawley, accepting for best miniseries Fargo, recounting getting the green light call with “a baby strapped to his chest,” which is otherwise called “Babywearing” and is a nice dad thing to do.

The award for Most Appreciated Crew goes to “American Horror Story: Coven,” whose Kathy Bates and Jessica Lange thanked profusely for their grueling hours and dedication.

Gail Mancuso accepts the 2014 Emmy Award for best direction of a comedy, Modern Family.

Gail Mancuso

Modern Family’s Gail Mancuso won for Best Direction of a Comedy Series.  She used the opportunity to make full-on eye contact with Matthew McConaughey.  She began saying that “In the 60 years…” and I thought she was going to say how it’s taken this long for a woman to win a directing Emmy – but no, it was apparently her parents’ anniversary instead.

Another high point was the Best Writing for a Drama Series, where Moira Walley-Beckett won for Breaking Bad.

These two women were among the only nominated for directing and writing.  No women were nominated for Directing a Drama Series, Directing a Miniseries, Writing a Miniseries, or Directing Structured Nonfiction.  One woman was nominated for Directing a Variety Special but didn’t win, and a pair of women were nominated for Comedy Writing and didn’t win.

Sofia Vergara was chastised in the press following the award show for allowing herself to be spun on a pedestal for the Academy PSA.  Having already read the reviews, I was not in a state of shock like the rest of the world seemed to be.  She was performing a comedy routine on that pedestal that was pretty funny.  It was tone deaf and backwards especially compared to the rest of the ceremony, but rather than taking a step behind, it was showing where we actually are.  For goodness sakes, Cloris Leachman was one of the top 16 in her year as a contestant in the Miss America pageant and no one questions her chops.  All of a sudden no one can stand for blatant sexism, but only in this one instance?

Seth Myers was not as funny as the Golden Globes’ Amy & Tina, but he did have some fantastic quips.  “That’s right, MTV still has an awards show for music videos even though they no longer show music videos.  That’s like network TV holding an awards show and giving all the trophies to cable and Netflix.”  Funny!  But a failed opportunity for himself and NBC, which could’ve mentioned Hulu where his own show “The Awesomes” resides.  (See, this blog is still about digital!)

Forbes had an article reacting to the show.  In it Dina Gachman proscribes, “Now the industry needs to work on staffing some late night shows with women – in the writers room, behind the lens, and in front of the camera in the hosts’s chair.”  Do you think Chelsea Handler might be of service here, anyone else?

The industry has plenty of women, myself included.  But we aren’t hired, promoted or paid at the same rate as men.  Why?  I’ve experienced two instances in particular that might offer some pieces of the puzzle.  First, to be a PA, the first position in a line of jobs, you are expected to be able to carry cases of water bottles and drive a truck.  When everyday coordinators and production managers are hiring, whose resume do you think they will choose to look at, Jane or Bob’s?  Second, when you are in a van driving with the crew to the next location, or are finally on the way back to the production office after a long day, it’s not unusual to hear talk about who is the hottest woman crossing an intersection.  This kind of comment has been proven to undermine confidence in and for a woman that hears it regardless of whether it’s even about her.  Combined, why is anyone surprised at the drop off rates of female entertainment employees?

Finally, a closing note of personal appreciation to Nell Cox, feminist and founding member of the DGA’s 35-year-old Women’s Steering Committee.  She directed M*A*S*H and may have even directed Pat Stevens, who was a guest actress on M*A*S*H a couple of times and was the first person who told me I could be a professional producer.  Cox asks:

“What does it mean when a culture marginalizes and objectifies girls and women in its most potent and compelling media form?  Does it matter that one half of the population sees only a distorted image of itself on screen, and what purpose does this distorted picture serve?”

What do you think?

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