It’s a man’s world, women are just living in it. This is how many felt after reading the Oscar nominations on January 13th and seeing women left out in the best director category for the 2020 Oscars.
Bong Joon Ho for ‘Parasite’, Sam Mendes for ‘1917’, Todd Phillips for ‘Joker’, Martin Scorsese for ‘The Irishman’ and Quentin Tarantino for ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ compete for best director.
Presenter Issa Rae commented on the fact that no women had been nominated saying “Congratulations to those men,” after reading the nominations for best director.
For the 2020 ceremony, Lulu Wang ‘The Farewell’, Greta Gerwig ‘Little Women’, Marielle Heller ‘A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood’, Lorene Scafaria ‘Hustlers’ and Alma Har’el ‘Honey Boy’ were notably absent.
If Gerwig had been nominated, the nod in the category would have confirmed her as the first woman to be twice nominated for directing. She was previously up in the category in 2018 for ‘Lady Bird’. Additionally, Wang would have become the first woman of Asian descent to be nominated.
Only five women have ever been nominated for a directing Oscar: Kathryn Bigelow ‘The Hurt Locker’, Lina Wertmüller ‘Seven Beauties’, Jane Campion ‘The Piano’, Sofia Coppola ‘Lost in Translation’ and Gerwig. In 2010, Bigelow became the first and only female director to win the category.
Women were almost entirely absent from top award categories altogether after being overlooked at both the Golden Globes and the United Kingdom’s top film prize, the BAFTAs. All the best director nominees are male and the storylines of most of the top films are driven by male characters.
The acting and directing award contenders are mostly white, although Cynthia Erivo was nominated for the title role of Harriet Tubman in ‘Harriet’.Jennifer Lopez, widely praised for her supporting role in ‘Hustlers’,missed out. Awkwafina, who won the Golden Globe for best dramatic actress in ‘The Farewell’, also failed to be nominated by the Academy.
Critic Emily VanDerWerff Tweeted, “The Academy narrowly avoiding an Oscars So White by nominating exactly one performer of colour in an acting category butnominating her for playing Harriet Tubman.”
Major award shows have come under fire for failing to recognise work from women and people of colour. Ricky Gervais who hosted the Golden Globes for the fifth time, skewered the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for failing to diversify. “There’s a lot of controversy about our next category because no female directors were nominated this year. Not one. I mean, that’s bad,” he said.
We may claim that we are living in 2020, but according to the Academy Awards we are still back in the 1950s.