The list of nominations for this year’s academy awards has recently been released, and plenty of deserving movies, actors and directors made it to the list. However, critics and fans are calling out the academy for a very important reason—excluding female filmmakers. And while it may not be surprising anymore, it is still very much infuriating.
The bone of contention that most people have with the academy is the continuous dismissal of female directors, even though their movies are being recognised in other categories. Take Greta Gerwig’s Little Women for example. The movie, which has won acclaim from critics and fans alike, has earned nominations in several categories, including Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, Best Original Music Score, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Costume Design. The film is clearly a strong contender, so unsurprisingly, people are questioning why Greta didn’t deserve at least a nomination for Best Director.
Fun fact: Only five women have been nominated for the Best Director category in the 92-year history of the Academy. Yes, you can go back and read that twice.
to nominate Greta for best picture and best screenplay and best actresses but not best director just truly speaks to the way we don't view women as auteurs no matter how much they clearly ARE.
— Anna Menta (@annalikestweets) January 13, 2020
As expected, just as people started raising their voice over the absence of female directors on the list of nominees, ‘woke’ men started flooding the internet with the age-old argument: Women didn’t get nominated because they were just *not good enough* and that they encourage women directors to ‘do better’.
Well, let’s enlighten them about some of the phenomenal movies directed by women this year. Greta Gerwig’s Little Women obviously tops the list, with six academy nominations, including Best Adapted Screenplay. Actor Florence Pugh, who has been nominated for the Best Supporting Actress category for the film, rightly pointed out the irony, “As Greta has said before, it’s been a great year for female creators, and I hope this encourages a larger conversation. This is literally why Greta made the film—one about women living in a man’s world, related to money and success. This news only highlights the message of the film.”
Other films by female creators that should have made the nomination list include The Farewell, directed by Lulu Wang, Portrait of a Lady on Fire by Celine Sciamma, Hustlers by Lorene Scafaria, Booksmart by Olivia Wilde, and Marielle Heller’s A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. Most of these films got recognition at other internationally-acclaimed award shows and events. The one standout quality of these films? They focus on a unique female narrative. So by snubbing these directors, the message the academy is basically sending out is: female voices and female stories are not important.
This did not go down well with Twitter and people called out the Academy’s blatant bias:
OK but Hustlers was this year. Little Women was this year. The Farewell was this year. When They See Us was this year. Booksmart was this year. Really no noms for female directors? Not a one? Cool, cool. https://t.co/xO3dVriYyM
— Emily O'Donnell (@emily_odonnell) January 13, 2020
Absolutely zero tolerance for anyone who dares to say "maybe women weren't just that good this year" when even just based on critical reception, the ENTIRE Directing category could've literally been made of ONLY female directors. Enough. pic.twitter.com/kW9LePntLH
— vittoria (@witchesonfire7) January 13, 2020
“no female directors were nominated this year” *pretends to be shocked*
— the x files ! (@scullyxf) January 6, 2020
No Greta Gerwig for ‘Little Women,’ no Lulu Wang for ‘The Farewell,’ no Lorene Scafaria for ‘Hustlers,’ no Melina Matsoukas for ‘Queen & Slim’ no Marielle Heller for ‘A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.’ Once again, the Oscars nominated five men for best director. #OscarNoms
— Ramin Setoodeh (@RaminSetoodeh) January 13, 2020
Actual footage of The Academy showing female directors all their oscar noms this year: pic.twitter.com/Qt39QqHvnE
— Uncut JMs (@JM3K) January 13, 2020
In 2016, the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite went viral after no actors of colour were nominated for Best Leading or Supporting Actor. As a result, many celebrities boycotted the awards show that year.
While talking about the exclusion of women, it is pertinent to note that women of colour have been snubbed by this year’s nominations as a whole. With the exception of Cynthia Erivo being nominated for Best Actress, you’ll notice a curious pattern—most of the women who did receive nominations are white (and blonde!). In fact, the list of nominees across the board—except for Korean movie Parasite, is white.
Twitter has questioned why Hustlers, which starred Latina superstar Jennifer Lopez in the lead role and garnered critical acclaim at other award shows, was not nominated for a single category. Asian-American actor and comedian Awkwafina, who won Best Actress at not one but three award shows—Golden Globes, Satellite Awards and Gotham Independent Film Award—was also completely snubbed. Lupita Nyong’o, whose performance in horror flick Us impressed many, was also missing from the list.
— N 💗 1996 ✨ (@bunniv3) January 13, 2020
I saw more conversations about how good these 3 performances were than all of the Oscar nominees combined.
— kareem yasin (@thekareem) January 13, 2020
In conclusion, all we want to say is—if women can’t be recognised for their talent in film in 2020, how can we be optimistic about the future of film? Recognising women’s efforts is important because that is the only way more women will be encouraged to make more movies and share their stories. Let’s continue to collectively raise our voices against institutions that fail to do so. And then maybe, someday, this conversation will be irrelevant.
Featured Image: Little Women/Youtube
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