After two consecutive years of women winning the Best Director Oscar, the Academy completely ignored the many women who directed acclaimed films this year, nominating an entire category of men for Best Director on Tuesday morning.
In the words of Issa Rae, who presented her Oscar nominations in 2020, Last Time the Best Director Nominees Had an All-Male Group: “Congratulations to those people.”
It’s tiring that this has happened once again, and somehow keeps happening. I had hoped that this story would not have to be published. I hoped that I was wrong.
was not on the list Gina Prince-Bythewood, who led an incredible cast and crew of black women in the making of the historical epic “The Woman King,” which grossed nearly $70 million at the box office. Nor was Sarah Polley, who beautifully crafted “Women Talking,” a small but powerful film about a group of Mennonite women who, as the film unfolds, struggle to build a democratic system and fight abusers and abusive institutions. Trying to escape becomes a microcosm for social questions. either domi shiThe director of Pixar’s “Turning Red” managed to make a funny and sweet animated movie about periods. Or Charlotte Wells, whose indie darling “Aftersun” showed a tender and introspective side of “Normal People” star Paul Mescal as a young parent. Or Laura Poitras, whose searing documentary “All the Beauty and the Bloodshed” powerfully weaves together the past and present of artist and activist Nan Goldin. And on and on and on.
In some ways, Tuesday morning’s total omission of the Academy’s female directors was no surprise and entirely in line with its abysmal record. In the 95-year history of the Oscars, only seven women have been nominated for directing. Only three have won, all in recent years: Kathryn Bigelow in 2010, chloe zhao in 2021, and jane campion Last year.
But Tuesday’s nominations also feel like a step back from the progress the Academy has made in recent years, albeit slowly, thanks to a lot of public pressure and scrutiny. With a changing membership that is less white, less male, younger and more international, the past few years have brought a somewhat more diverse range of nominated films and artists. This is partly why three years ago, ‘Parasite’ wins best picture award And Bong Joon-ho won Best Director, and why the following year, Chloe Zhao became the first (and still only) woman of color to win Best Director. This is why it has become rare to see an all-white and/or all-male slate of Best Director nominees.
Hopefully, Tuesday is just a blip in the overall upward trajectory of diversity at the Oscars. But this can easily backfire. Maybe the progress of the last few years was a blip. as the latest study Diversity in Direction from the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative Found, the percentage of women and people of color directing the biggest movies at the US box office in 2022 remained flat, compared to previous highs in recent years. It suggests that all of the promises Hollywood has made in response to everything from Oscar So White to the Me Too movement to racial reckoning following the killing of George Floyd in 2020 may be largely symbolic.
It’s tiring to write the same story over and over again, about how nothing has changed, or, at best, has changed at a snail’s pace. For a city that prides itself on storytelling when it comes to diversity behind the camera, Hollywood loves to tell the same story over and over again.