When the Oscars Began, It Was the Women Who Had All the Power
In 1928, the year that the Oscars were born, John Gilbert was the highest-paid actor in Hollywood; Greta Garbo, the top MGM star of 1928, was not far behind, and would soon eclipse her romantic lead, lover, and mentor, commanding an unprecedented $270,000 per picture, plus creative control over her films. The Oscars have divided their acting awards by gender from the very beginning, and from today’s perspective — where it doesn’t take a letter from Jennifer Lawrence for people to know that women in Hollywood are a disadvantaged group — the divide may seem like an early kind of affirmative action, a quaint, old-fashioned, gentlemanly concession. But Garbo and her fellow actresses were, in fact, the top earners and most beloved stars up until World War II. So were the acting Oscars divided by gender to give the men a fair shot?
Read the entire piece, here: http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2016/02/oscar-history-gender