Julie Delpy: The Academy is ’90% white men over 70 who need money’


Julie Delpy is an Oscar-nominee. She lost on Sunday night – she was one of the co-screenwriters up for Best Adapted Screenplay for her part in creating the script for Before Midnight, jointly with Ethan Hawke and Richard Linklater. I thought the nomination for that script was a lovely tip of the hat from the Academy for this bizarre and delightful journey the three of them were on for twenty years, making an unconventional trilogy for these beloved characters. I’m not sure anyone thought they would win, but I hoped that they would be honored that their unconventional passion project had earned them recognition from the Academy. Well, maybe Ethan Hawke was pleased, but Julie Delpy was not. In an interview printed just a few days before the Oscars, Julie went OFF:

Complaints about the Oscars’ gender disparities are in no short supply, even from the nominees themselves. But “Before Midnight” co-star Julie Delpy, who’s a Best Original Screenplay contender for penning the movie’s script with Ethan Hawke and director Richard Linklater, thinks the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ rich, white, male-dominated voting body is so far gone that she doesn’t even care.

“We have the Golden Globes. If you could see it, you wouldn’t believe that there’s anything good about it. The same goes for the Oscars,” Delpy told So Film, via the Irish Independent. “It’s 90 percent white men over 70 who need money because they haven’t done anything in a long time. You just need to give them two or three presents and they’re in your pocket. It doesn’t mean anything to me, so I don’t really care if there are women in the selection process.”

The actress’ candid remarks are a departure from much of what’s said about the state of Oscar voting. A recent New York Film Academy infographic reported a 5:1 disparity in men working in film compared to women, while a Lee & Low Books chart spotlighted the paltry 23 percent of the Academy that’s female.

Delpy also bemoaned what she sees as the declining state of independent cinema, which she attributes to Hollywood heavyweights like Harvey Weinstein. “I think they love cinema, but they also like to take a movie and give it an added value, then kill everything left behind,” she said. “This has a lot to do with the Oscars. In the ’90s, there were real independent movies, but they have slowly been crushed by the majors. The minute they take over something, they crush it. … Every time I’ve become a part of the Hollywood mainstream, it’s been crap! Let’s be honest: 90 percent of movies made in Hollywood are crap.”

[From HuffPo]

Okay! Thanks for playing, Julie. Here’s the thing: if you want to have an honest, no-BS conversation about gender disparity in Hollywood, have at it. But it complicates the issue when you’re complaining about gender disparities while promoting your work for which you’ve been recognized by the Academy. And it’s another thing altogether to say that Academy members are on the take. I’m sure some of them would like some money, but Julie is missing something very important: it doesn’t matter who you buy off, Academy members aren’t going to vote for you if you make such a big deal (publicly) about thinking the Academy is full of crap and you don’t care. Maybe she really doesn’t care. But then why even bother showing up? Why even go to the Oscars… and the Oscar after-parties? Because she does care.



Photos courtesy of WENN.

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72 Responses to “Julie Delpy: The Academy is ’90% white men over 70 who need money’”

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  1. Lindy says:

    Whether or not she has a valid point, the timing of her comments makes her look like a sore loser.

  2. bns says:

    This isn’t the first time she has called them out, and I love that she’s not afraid to speak her mind.

    She looked beautiful at the Oscars.

  3. Sarah says:

    she really sounds more like a bitter loser than someone with a point. if you dont care you dont care. you dont talk about it and you certainly dont attend. she cares and she wants the recognition. to actually think they would win against their competition is ridiculous and Hawke understood that. not everything is based on sexism or racism, sometimes you just suck at what you are doing or cant compete with the best.

    • blue marie says:

      While I admit she does sound a bit salty.. have you seen the movies? They’re actually pretty good, in my opinion anyway. Although her statements are a bit convoluted, I don’t think she was pointing out the Academy to scream sexism (she’s only 1 of the 3 that wrote the screenplay) but rather to point out they can be bought off by the likes of Harvey while indies get next to no love at these big awards. And that is true, Harvey and ones like him care more about the awards, the recognition than the actual process or story.

      To say she sucks at what she does is not only unfair but it’s also untrue.

      • Evi says:

        I don’t think the types of films she makes, while not terrible, will win awards.
        The only ones I’ve watched were her Two days films [In Paris and in NY] and really? It’s all right to watch for a bit of a laugh and pass the time, but there is no extraordinary storytelling.

      • Juliette says:

        Harvey cares about the awards because Harvey understands the business aspect of film more than the artistic side of it. I’m certain he has an appreciation for artistic vision, but he’s definitely more concerned with marketing, and selling selling selling. If art is happening in a vacuum, its not experienced by the masses who are going to buy Harvey’s tickets. The awards up the glamour factor, they make a film, a director, an actor, even a screenwriter more marketable to the masses because someone will recognize the name. Harvey gets that. Julie doesn’t.

        That said, I’m sure a movie that came from Julie’s brain, emotion and energy would be a heck of a lot more fascinating that any depraved pornography that came from Harvey’s.

  4. Lark says:

    She has a very valid point, but it’s a hard line to walk between caring enough to show up and not caring at all.

  5. Lilacflowers says:

    I think she cares about Richard and Ethan to support them, but doesn’t necessarily care whether they actually win because she doesn’t believe in the process. Really not much different from what Fassbender has been doing, except for she’s gone a bit further to call the Academy members out. And she does have some valid points about Academy membership, other than the payoff bit. They were nominated for Before Sunset too.

  6. smee says:

    Ha! I love it. Maybe not the most prudent thing to do career-wise, but at 44 I’m sure she knows Hollywood has no use for her any longer (unless they have a mom role to fill), so why not speak your mind?

    • LadySlippers says:

      Yup. You’ve nailed it on the head. Except she’s now almost too old to be a mom in Hollywood. Perhaps grandmother?

    • laura says:

      I do not like Delpy and think she is hypocritical…but this comment about age is just harsh, ridiculous…Comments like yours are not helping.Hollywood now is changing , look at Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Meryl Streep, Halle Berry, Judy Dench etc… even Lupita Nyong’o is starting her career at 31! (which would have been considered ancient years ago in Hollywood). So as far as age goes Delpy could still have a career….

      • LadySlippers says:

        Actually not true. AND most actresses in their 40′s have commented for decades about the lack of good roles for women but especially older women.


        “The success of individual women in film, whether Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games, Cate Blanchett or Kathryn Bigelow, is often treated as a sign of progress, when, according to Lauzen and other critics, they are the exceptions that prove the rule. “The Hunger Games is just one film,” says Lauzen. “The same thing happened when Bridesmaids came out, or when Kathryn Bigelow won her Oscar. People start talking about a ‘Bridesmaids effect’ or a ‘Bigelow effect’ – that these high-profile successes would radiate an effect to other women in the business.”

        But, she says, that’s not the case. “Kathryn Bigelow’s success may have helped her, but it didn’t change the world because attitudes about gender or race or age are held on a very deep level. Old habits die hard. One of the reasons we haven’t seen much change, is that it’s not seen as a problem by people in positions of power – even by some women. Unless you perceive something as a problem you’re not going to fix it.” ”



        A key argument here is (last sentence in the above quote): “Unless you perceive something as a problem you’re not going to fix it.”

        That ladies and gentlemen is exactly why Julie is commenting on it. She’s raising our awareness on the subject matter and some of you might actually go and look into it more. She’s not the only one — we had a great post a few days ago prompted by recent comments from Olivia Wilde with similar sentiments.

      • laura says:

        Well, years ago a movie like “Gravity” would have been played by a big breast (ed) blonde woman in her early twenties ! plus on TV there are so many wonderful role for women over 50 and plus . I think it is changing! May I say that i love “12 years a slave” and so many others, even though there are not an independent movies. I am grateful and actually like hollywood for opening doors to women little by little no matter what mrs Delpy and others think…

      • Seán says:

        I agree that it’s more difficult for women to get strong roles in Hollywood. This is primarily because Hollywood focus is overtly on the straight, white male population and women play the secondary and tertiary characters in these movies. Discussion about how that needs to change is completely apt and I’ve really liked Cate Blanchett and Olivia Wilde’s comments about this issue.

        HOWEVER…and I’ll probably get into some trouble over this…I don’t agree with Delpy here. To be successful in Hollywood, it’s a combination of artistic integrity and playing the business element of things. Let’s look at this year’s Best Actresses and Best Supporting Actresses. The Best Actress category’s median age is 55 years old and the youngest nominee (Amy Adams) will turn 40 later this year. Three of the nominees in the Best Supporting Actress are also over 40. With the exception of Sally Hawkins, June Squibb and Lupita Nyong’o (who’s only starting out)…all these women have enjoyed box office success on top of critical. Many of the actresses who complain about Hollywood were either associated with a string of flop movies, took long breaks from their acting careers, were never very talented to begin with or are “too cool” to play the game. Delpy is the latter. If Delpy wants to be successful in Hollywood, she would need to balance out more mainstream fare with artistic work like this.

        So while women do have a harder time in general in all professions, that’s society’s fault and the roles in which we place women more than Hollywood itself. How do you expect to be a success in acting if you are not in the public consciousness?

      • LadySlippers says:

        @Sean: But even Meryl has commented about the dearth of *good* roles for women and she’s clearly an exception as she’s still working.

        Too many women have been voicing the same sentiment for way too long. That’s what I key in on is the fact most women say the same thing, almost verbatim, decade after decade. And it doesn’t matter who, where they are in their career, or how big they are — they all say the same thing.

        However, I do agree that ‘playing the game’ even to a small degree is what’s needed, in most cases, to succeed anywhere. BUT if Julie can succeed (and she is getting films made whereas Jody Foster is apparently struggling) without playing the game — more power to her and any other women doing the same.

  7. Tapioca says:

    Erm… if the ratio of men to women working in film is 5:1 (so a mere 16.7% female) then at 23% the Academy actually has more than a third more female members than it necessarily “should”!

    What we need are more women OVERALL working in Hollywood and encouragement for them to pursue a career in writing/editing/cinematography, etc… is going to be a lot more positive than sour grapes grousing by bad losers.

  8. Ronnie says:

    I love absolutely delpy and her honesty! She can still think it’s a load of crap and take the recognition at the same time, but not buy into it too much.

    She has a rocky relationship with Hollywood though- they apparently dislike her and she couldn’t get into the vanity fair after party last year- her own words in this article “Hollywood hates me, but I don’t care” lol – thats the actual title.

    Worth the read!


  9. Zbornak Syndrome says:

    This is EFFING AWESOME!!!!

  10. eliza says:

    I always find it rich that these complainers voice their opinions yet continue to play the HWood game while appearing in movies and cashing the checks. They also attend these ceremonies and want the attention.

    She’s a hypocrite as far as I’m concerned.

  11. Marianne says:

    I agree that if she doesn’t care and thinks its a total farce, then why go? Why not boycott the oscars? Don’t you think that would make a bigger statement.

    • LadySlippers says:

      But what does boycotting the Oscars really accomplish? She is female and foreign and that would be dismissed by Hollywood.

      Heck, look at how few people know that Woody never attends award shows. And he’s male and a known name — what chance does she have?

  12. kibbles says:

    Her points are valid but she sounds like someone who doesn’t really know how to play the Hollywood game, gets upset about it, but still tries to be accepted by attending the Oscars and after parties. If she hates it so much then boycott it altogether, am I right? There are celebrities who don’t campaign for an Oscar nor do they attend the after parties. She seems a bit ungrateful for being recognised by the Academy in my opinion.

    • LadySlippers says:

      If you read some of the Guardian articles (there are more than the ones I posted) you’ll see that women are damned if they play and damned if they don’t. By speaking out, Julie got people’s attention and THAT’S a big deal.

      • frisbeejada says:

        Yes I agree with you, they are damned if they do and damned if they don’t – that comment nails the conundrum women face every day in the industry. I admire her for having the guts to speak her mind, few have.

      • LadySlippers says:

        Yep. So very true.

        I think the various women in the past several decades that have essentially said the same thing, are hoping we the public start to demand a change. Hollywood and the entire worldwide media will pay attention if we ‘talk’ with our money and start supporting women in film/media/TV and stop supporting misogynist practices. It’s both just that simple and just that complex as demonstrated by so many here in this post.

  13. Jayna says:

    I really enjoyed Before Midnight. Many didn’t like it because it goes negative and kind of shocks you and saddens you about this love story between these two. I have to say I have a whole new appreciation for Ethan Hawke. That scene in the beginning of the movie where he is sending his oldest son back to the states after visitation for the summer was heartbreaking and one of the best scenes I’ve ever seen. So much of it had to be through his eyes and emotion on his face and you felt it all. Ethan nailed it so beautifully as a parent struggling with guilt as a divorced parent and realizing his son is growing up and not much time left to be together. There is so much dialogue in the movie that could come off contrived but it wasn’t.

    And the extended fight in the hotel towards the end of the movie that goes on for a long time is a revelation, a couple that seems good together and start fighting, but it’s all surface banter, typical relationship fight, until you realize halfway into the fight when real issues just start being thrown out in cruel ways. And it’s a mesmerizing, long scene, maybe 20 minutes and, honestly, brilliant acting,, especially on the part of Ethan Hawke, and you felt sick to your stomach watching it and realizing under the surface this relationship is in real trouble.

    • LadySlippers says:


      And the writing was SO natural that both my daughter and I were stunned to read that wasn’t ad libbed during filming. The whole movie felt a bit like peeking into someone’s real life. Beautiful and poignant all at the same time.

  14. Jade says:

    It seems a lot of people think that if your not making films for Hollywood or the Academy Awards then what’s the point of making them? Independent cinema is being pushed out and the theatres that play the films are being closed down, there’s not a lot of diversity anymore, not like there has been in the past, and that’s the point she was tring to make, not because she’s bitter and jealous because about her career or loosing an award that everyone’s is given out to the biggest ass kisser.

    Julie’s always had a career outside of Hollywood, she also is a film maker herself, so no matter what she says or how out spoken she is or how old she gets or whatever else, she’s always going to have a career.

  15. Tig says:

    I enjoyed the last Before movie, and really liked her with Chris Rock in 2 Days in NY. I don’t read this as sour grapes as much as venting over prob 20 yrs of frustration with a system that typically undervalues women and women’s work product. I hope to see her direct more films.

  16. Size Does Matter says:

    Blah, blah, blah…..who knows if it is sour grapes or legitimate criticism or both. On to the superficial! Julie is very beautiful -dewy and etherial, and Ethan Hawke is aging into Harrison Ford yummieness.

  17. Evi says:

    The thing about Delpy and other European actors is that they’re quite open and to the point and uncomfortably so, they don’t really care. But they don’t realise that in the US they can shoot themselves in the foot by saying these things. In France, if actors are out of work, they’re really given a helping hand by the government with good benefits and the like.
    Actors who go on to write and direct, as she has, will need to sell their project to get finance. Finance usually comes via producers. Piss off a few of these and you can kiss your projects goodbye.
    Her points are valid. Hollywood does terrible things to independent films and is all about exploitation of some form or another, but that’s beside the point if you’re looking to go on making films.
    I’d expect an older, bitter actor to say these things. Not someone who has the potential to make films for the next three decades.
    She needs to control that European sensibility to say how she feels, at least in public. You shouldn’t take a dump where you eat [where your career is on the line].
    At the end of the day she is privileged to be working in an industry where she has the capacity to earn an income that is considerably higher, have more time for her creative pursuits [compared to a 9 to 5 and more person or fast food worker or any other worker] such as writing and filming, and so she shouldn’t bitch about it. It’s quite precious of her really.

    • Val says:

      If you’re out of work as an actor in France, you still have to work at least one other job to keep yourself afloat, even with the slightly better unemployment benefits. From what I’ve read of her, she doesn’t take these things for granted… she has a whole writing process, I think she’s quite artistic in her approach. She’s also very French :D

      I actually think it’s good that she’s calling out the Academy and the industry, it challenges the status quo. And if the US/Hollywood needs anything, it’s a bit of poking and prodding in certain places, otherwise we’re never gonna get anywhere.

      • Evi says:

        She can call out the academy, but will she change it by doing that? No. Also there are many broke writers who have a writing process. So what if she has an entire writing process?
        It’s a matter of knowing which battles to pick and not compromising your livelihood or career – the same as in the everyday non-celebrity world.
        If people despise things they know they cannot change, they’re better off doing something else or shutting up.
        Let’s not forget the film industry in Hollywood employs how many people who don’t earn a few million a year or a film.

    • hmmm says:

      Re: privilege. That’s like saying she should be grateful she’s not living in her parents’ basement.

      • Evi says:

        How many people do you know that can afford to make independent films AND receive invitations to attend the Oscars.
        Then there is her dual citizenship. Her ability to have two residences in each country. It’s not like she lives hand to mouth and lives the ‘starving artist’ existence. She is basically a complaining bourgeois actress.
        If that’s not privilege I don’t know what else is.

  18. Gwen says:

    I love her and I think she’s mostly right too.

  19. Nance says:

    Going to the oscar just makes her look like an hypocrite.

  20. Leah says:

    Oh come on. Julie Delpy has always said this kind of stuff. This is nothing new and certainly didn’t come as a result of not winning an oscar since she made the comments before the show and has said similar stuff a number of times during the years. She is french, she is blunt and she has no idea how to play the game, nor does she seem to try.. But thats why she is a fresh of breath air.
    The stuff she says about independent cinema is pretty much universally agreed upon if you read media studies so its not like she is saying anything controversial.
    Delpy is a good screenwriter thats all that matters to me.Wasn’t there a story about how Cate Blanchett wants to work with her?

  21. GIRLFACE says:

    Her movie was about one thousand times better than the undeservedly pretentious, pseudo-intellectual yawn of an over styled, over wrought, boring and predictable, trying to be cool and failing, not even worth two hours of my life, “film” in every sense of the word, ‘Her’ so she can say whatever the f*ck she wants as far as I’m concerned. ‘Her’ was okay. It was okay. It was a good concept that was taken way too far stylistically and scripted poorly. So much could have been better. Instead, people walked around in drop crotch pants and wore hip glasses. It mostly sucked. Before Midnight was the best of the series, IMO. Genuine, funny, likable, emotionally relevant, great acting, great chemistry, enjoyable the entire time… She can totally talk some sh$t on the Academy. I agree with her. Completely.

  22. laura says:

    She is a total hypocrite. I read a recent article in a french magazine where she was complaining about having a small apartment in Paris ( 17m 2) and living in an apartment in west hollywood. She said she was ‘broke’. Years ago she felt “unloved” by french people and left France to LA, now she is not happy with the movie industry here meanwhile she is trying to go to every after party in hollywood ( I saw her at the golden globes). So I think she is bitter and very hypocritical….By the way she is 46 not 44 …

  23. Jane says:

    Idk, I don´t mind her timing at all. Right now her comments can get maximum impact/attention. People wouldn´t care as much if she hadn´t said so close to the actual ceremony.

  24. laura says:

    I meant she was also complaining about her LA house not being nice enough and her friends thinking that she lived in a much nicer house….blabla

  25. mercy says:

    She may be right, but I can’t fault most if their choices this year.

  26. taxi says:

    ? Her apartment is 17m 2? That is equivalent to 182 sq feet, or 10′ x 18′ or
    11′ x 16′. Hard to believe. Typical 1BR apartments in the US are usually 500-650 sq ft and 182sq ft is a bedroom.

  27. Jayna says:

    Until I kept reading on here about campaigns for Oscar I never realized there was such a thing. I am now turned off. If you are campaigning for an Oscar and there’s gifts, isn’t that like being voted Most Popular. I think campaigning for an Oscar is disgusting and dilutes the true meaning of what it is about.

    So more power to Julie. Although, this year I like who won everything, but it still doesn’t make me forgive all the campaigning that went on.