The first woman in 23 years took home an Oscar for Best Original Score. Here's why it matters.

When Hildur Gudnadottir walked up to the stage at the Oscars last night to receive her award for Best Original Score, I squealed. Then I texted my 19-year-old daughter, "A female composer won Best Score for 'Joker'!!!"


My daughter is a music composition major with ambitions to become a film composer. I knew how huge last night's award was because when we researched that career choice, we discovered how unbelievably male-dominated the film scoring industry is.

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Most people with a keen interest in movies can name a few film composers off the top of their heads—John Williams, Hanz Zimmer, Howard Shore, etc. But very few can name even one female film scorer, or even recognize one by name. When my daughter and I watched the film scoring industry documentary, Score, we were dismayed to find that of the nearly 50 composers interviewed, just two were women.

But sadly, that ratio lines up pretty closely with the actual statistics. A report from the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film shows that of the top 250 domestic box office films of 2018, 94 percent were scored by men. In addition, a 2018 University of Southern California study found that of the top 1,100 fictional films from 2007 to 2017, male composers were included in credits 1,200 times—and female composers just 16.

Such drastic underrepresentation can't possibly be due to a lack of interest in the field, since there are plenty of women in other musical careers. There's nothing inherently gendered about music, so it's not about talent or ability, either. As Captain Marvel composer Pinar Toprak said in an interview, "Music, and art in general, it's genderless because emotions are genderless."

However, history has not seen music as genderless. Some of this underrepresentation may be due to our automatic connection between orchestral music and male composers, thanks in large part to a long history of female composers being unable to have their work heard. (One example: Felix Mendelssohn's sister, Fanny, was every bit his musical equal, yet she was discouraged from publishing her compositions. When she finally did get her work published, it was under her brother's name. Mozart's sister was also a child musical prodigy, her talents largely overlooked by society and history.)

Perhaps there are also some self-perpetuating assumptions in the industry. The most famous and successful composers have always been men (notably, almost exclusively white men), therefore men may automatically be seen as the most able composers. As in many male-dominated industries, male domination itself becomes a defining factor of the field without even trying. Instead of a "glass ceiling," female composers face a "sound barrier" purely because of their gender—one that, despite some chipping away, seems very hard to break.

That's why this Oscar win by Gudnadottir—as well as her other wins, such as being the first solo female composer to win a Golden Globe for Best Score—is a big deal. That's why Pinar Toprak being the first woman to score a Marvel film was a big deal. That's why my daughter seeing such examples of both excellence and recognition is a big deal.

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As Gudnadottir said her speech, "To the girls, to the women, to the mothers, to the daughters, who hear the music bubbling within, please speak up. We need to hear your voices."

This win will help smooth the way for aspiring female composers like my daughter to have their voices heard.

Check out Gudnadottir's acceptance speech:

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Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

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Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


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Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


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Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

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Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


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Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

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L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

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Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

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All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.