#OscarsSoMale: The Oscars block out women for Best Director

The Academy Awards failed to nominate any women for directing this year, after two consecutive years of women winning in this category.

The Academy Awards nominations, announced Tuesday, did not include filmmakers such as Sarah Polley (“Women Talking”), Gina Prince-Bythewood (“The Woman King”), Maria Schrader (“She Said”) and Charlotte Wells (“Aftersun”). In the best directors lineup. Women have won the category the past two years in a row, with Chloe Zhao winning 2021 for “Nomadland” and Jane Campion scoring last year for “Power of the Dog.”

The Director category is voted on by the 573 active members of the Directors branch. The five film directors recognized by the Academy are Daniel Cowan and Daniel Scheinert (“Everything and Everywhere at Once”), Todd Field (“Tar”), Martin McDonagh (“The Banshees of Inisherin”), Ruben Östlund (“Triangle”) Sorrow”) and Steven Spielberg (“The Fabelmans”).

Following the nominations, Women In Film, Los Angeles condemned the Academy for omitting female filmmakers. “Once again, Academy voters have shown that they do not value women’s votes, which has led to our exclusion from the Best Director nominations,” they said in a statement. “An Academy Award is more than just a gold statue, it’s a career accelerator that can lead to continued work and increased rewards. That’s why WIF will continue to advocate for the work of talented female directors like Sarah Polley’s “Women Talking,” Gina Prince-Bythewood’s “The Woman King” and Maria Schrader’s “She Said” and Chinonye Chukwu’s “Till” and Charlotte Wells’ After the Sun, “to be included”.

Seven women have been nominated as director in Oscar history, with only three producing winners – Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker (2009), Chloe Zhao for Nomadland (2020) and Jane Campion for The Power of the Dog (2021). Other female nominees include Lena Wertmüller for “Seven Beauties” (1976), Campion for “The Piano” (1993), Sofia Coppola for “Lost in Translation” (2003), and Greta Gerwig for “Lady Bird” ( 2017) and Emerald Vinyl on “Promising Young Women” (2020).

Fennell and Zhao’s year marked the first time more than one woman had ever been nominated, while Campion’s recognition last year marked the first time a woman had returned as a nominee.

Women have made great strides in Hollywood over the past few years, especially with the Academy Awards, but improvements are still needed.

Although no woman was honored for its directing, Polly’s critically acclaimed drama Women Talking, an adaptation of Miriam Touz’s novel, was among the ten films nominated for Best Picture.

Before this year’s Best Picture nominees, there were 581 films nominated by the Academy. Only 18 of those films have been directed by a woman, starting with Randa Haines’ Children of a Lesser God (1986).

The Academy’s selections are only a symptom of the issue that plagues Hollywood. While there has been a clear improvement over the past decades, there has also been a decline, evidenced by USC Annenberg’s research. The report found that of the 111 directors hired to make 100 films last year, only 9% were women. That fell from 12.7% in 2021. Meanwhile, the number of black, Asian, Hispanic/Latino, and interracial filmmakers also fell from 27.3% in 2021 to 20.7% in 2022. Women of color made up a mere 2.7% of Last year’s 100 best film directors.

The 95th Academy Awards will be broadcast live on ABC on March 12 from the Dolby Theater in Hollywood.


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