Following the unveiling of the 92nd annual Academy Award nominations, outrage has erupted in various corners of social media and the blogosphere over the complete absence of women filmmakers in the Best Director category, sparking outcries of sexism and patriarchal oppression.
During the presentation ceremony, actress Issa Rae echoed the frustrations of many when she specifically congratulated “those men” nominated for their achievements in directing.
“Congratulations to those men,” Rae said in a sarcastic quip recalling that of actress Natalie Portman when she famously stated “here are the all-male nominees” at the Golden Globes in 2018.
Though various women directors were listed in the many declarations of injustice, the name most frequently cited was Greta Gerwig for her work on the latest iteration of “Little Women.” Here’s how The Hollywood Reporter (THR) framed the controversy:
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 all notably left out.
If Gerwig had been nominated, the nod in the category would have solidified her as the first woman to be nominated for directing twice. 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 had been nominated for the 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 in the category.
People were quick to voice their frustrations on social media in response to the “patriarchy” scoring yet another win.
“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,” tweeted Ramin Setoodeh of Variety.
“I’m not writing anything about the Oscars today because I’m off work with a fever, but these nominations can absolutely get in the bin. The Academy is sexist & everyone just decided to ignore Tarantino’s Weinstein/Thurman issues in favor of Hollywood nostalgia,” tweeted Gavin Baker-Whitelaw.
“Excited for The Oscars ceremony when whomever the woman they get to present Best Director makes a comment about how all the nominees are men and the crowd all cheers like crazy and we all retweet it a million times and then absolutely NOTHING changes,” tweeted Carl Kinsella.
“When The Oscars voting body is overwhelmingly white, male and with an average age of near the grave we really have to question what validation from them even means. Filmmakers like Lulu Wang, Alma Harel, Mati Diop and Greta Gerwig made the films that moved me this year not clownman,” said one Twitter user.
Despite women being snubbed in the Best Director category, Brian Welk of The Wrap noted that women overall scored 31% of the nominations this year.
“Despite the outcry over a second straight year without a woman nominated for Best Director, the Academy showed record progress in gender parity on Monday: Women made up 31.1% of this year’s Oscar nominees, the highest percentage ever,” wrote Welk.