The Oscars are famous for snubbing female directors, so it should come as no surprise that literally no women were nominated in 2019 for the coveted award. The category was instead dominated by Hollywood heavyweights — all male.
With the nominations released overnight, conversations around those up for the biggest awards in film have been tainted by the director’s category, which has again let us down with its gender-skewed list. None of the female frontrunners, which included Mary, Queen of Scots’s Josie Rourke (and, we should mention, stars of the film Margot Robbie and Saoirse Ronan) and Marielle Heller of Can You Ever Forgive Me? got a look in. Instead, the nominations went to Spike Lee of BlacKkKlansman, Pawel Pawlikowski of Cold War, Yorgos Lanthimos of The Favourite, Alfonso Cuaró of Roma and Adam McKay, who directed Vice.
But as history has taught us, it wasn’t really looking good for women from the start. In 2018, Greta Gerwig become the fifth ever woman to be nominated for the category. That’s right, fifth.
Apart from Rourke and Heller, who were expected to be tapped for their work this year, Destroyer’s Karyn Kusama and Leave No Trace’s Debra Granik didn’t get a look in either. In other words, there wasn’t a shortage of good female directors, just a shortage of Academy men wanting to nominate them.
The lack of female representation has long been an issue for the award ceremony, particularly within the directing category. In 2018, Emma Stone famously called out the Academy for their lack of diversity, introducing the category with a side of serious shade.
“It is the vision of the director that takes an ordinary movie and turns it into a work of art,” she said. “These four men and Greta Gerwig created their own masterpieces this year.” The remarks were met with a whole of praise, and opened up the conversation (again) about why more women weren’t helming award-winning films.
Here’s hoping for 2020?