Women Record Producers Lag Behind Women Film Directors in Grammys vs. Oscars

If the Oscar pundits are right, Jane Campion may be the front-runner to win best director for The Power of the Dog when the 94th annual Academy Awards are presented on March 27.

This would be the second year in a row that a female director has won in that category after Chloé Zhao won in April for Nomadland. The only other woman to win in the category was Kathryn Bigelow, for The Hurt Locker (2009).

How does this compare to the Grammys? No woman has ever won the equivalent award — producer of the year, non-classical — and it’s not going to happen this year either: There’s an all-male field of nominees in that category for the third year in a row.

The outlook for women producers is brighter in the classical world. Three women have won Grammys for producer of the year, classical. Judith Sherman has taken the award five times. Joanna Nickrenz has won twice (once in collaboration with Marc Aubort). Elaine Martone has won once. Sherman and Martone are both nominated again this year.

In other marquee Grammy categories, Lauryn Hill is the only woman who was the sole producer of an album of the year winner — her own The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (1998).

Linda Goldstein is the only woman who was the sole producer of a record of the year winner – Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry Be Happy” (1988). She’s also the only woman to win for producing a record of the year who wasn’t also the artist.

Norah Jones is the only woman to win both album and record of the year for records she co-produced.

Taylor Swift, the only woman to win album of the year three times, co-produced all three of her winning albums. (As such, she would have won all three times even if she hadn’t been the artist.)

Hill won a second album of the year award as one of the producers on Santana’s Supernatural (1999). She produced the track “Do You Like the Way,” on which she was featured along with Cee Lo Green.

Imogen Heap is the only other woman, besides Hill, to win album of the year as a producer on another artist’s album. She won as one of the producers on Swift’s 1989. She and Swift co-produced the track “Clean.”

Eleven album of the year winners were produced or co-produced by women; just three record of the year winners were produced or co-produced by women.

Here’s a complete list of all the women who have produced or co-produced Grammy winners for album of the year, followed by an equivalent list for record of the year.

1977 – Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks: The female members of Fleetwood Mac co-produced Rumours with the male members (Lindsey Buckingham, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie) as well as Ken Caillat and Richard Dashut.

1981 – Yoko Ono: Ono co-produced Double Fantasy with her husband John Lennon and Jack Douglas.

1998 – Lauryn Hill: Hill was the sole producer of The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.

1999 – Lauryn Hill: Hill co-produced Santana’s Supernatural with Clive Davis, Jerry “Wonder” Duplessis, Dust Brothers, Alex Gonzales, Charles Goodan, Stephen M. Harris, Art Hodge, Wyclef Jean, Fher Olvera, KC Porter, Dante Ross and Matt Serletic.

2002 – Norah Jones: Jones co-produced Come Away With Me with Arif Mardin, Jay Newland and Craig Street.

2009 – Taylor Swift:  Swift co-produced Fearless with Nathan Chapman.

2010 – Régine Chassagne and Sarah Neufeld: The female members of Arcade Fire co-produced The Suburbs with the male members (William Butler, Win Butler, Jeremy Gara, Timothy Kingsbury and Richard Reed Parry) and Markus Dravs.

2011 – Adele: Adele co-produced 21 with Jim Abbiss, Paul Epworth, Rick Rubin, Fraser T. Smith, Ryan Tedder and Dan Wilson. (Adele didn’t take a production credit on 25, which also won album of the year.)

2015 – Taylor Swift and Imogen Heap: Swift and Heap co-produced 1989 with Chapman as well as Jack Antonoff, Max Martin, Mattman & Robin, Ali Payami, Shellback, Tedder and Noel Zancanella.

2018 – Kacey Musgraves: The crossover country star co-produced Golden Hour with Ian Fitchuk and Daniel Tashian.

2020 – Taylor Swift: Swift co-produced folklore with Antonoff as well as Joe Alwyn and Aaron Dessner.

And here’s a complete list of all the women who have produced or co-produced Grammy winners for record of the year.

1988 – Linda Goldstein: She was the sole producer of Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry Be Happy.”

2002—Norah Jones: She co-produced her jazzy hit “Don’t Know Why” with Mardin and Newland.

2010—Hillary Scott: The female member of Lady Antebellum co-produced “Need You Now” with the male members (Dave Haywood and Charles Kelley) and Paul N. Worley.