It’s not surprising, but it is disappointing. In the 91-year history of the Academy Awards, there have only been five female nominations for Best Director, with one win by Kathryn Bigelow for the 2008 film The Hurt Locker. Once again, the Academy has failed to recognize any female creatives for Best Director this year.
This past year, we’ve seen many beautifully diverse, thought-provoking films from women, most notably Debra Granik’s Leave No Trace, Lynne Ramsay’s You Were Never Really Here, and Marielle Heller’s Can You Ever Forgive Me.
Granik is most well-known for her 2010 independent drama Winter’s Bone, which garnered an unknown Jennifer Lawrence her first Oscar nomination. Despite four nominations, including one for Best Picture, Granik herself was not nominated for Best Director that year.
If any one female director had a chance, it was Heller. Heller’s snub is much more frustrating since the film’s two acting leads and screenwriters have been recognized by the Academy. She was also the only woman included in The Hollywood Reporter’s Director Roundtable, which is an early indicator of the directors’ race.
Hollywood needs to take affirmative action to include female creatives in the conversation. In recent news, Universal has become the first major studio to accept the 4 Percent Challenge, a Time’s Up initiative to urge the industry to hire more female directors.
We need to see more female directors at the helm of high-profile movies. We need to see female directors finally get the recognition they deserve. Change is coming. But until then, we’ll have to fight like hell.
The Academy has made a lot of progress recently in terms of inclusiveness and diversity, but it still has got a long way to go to include female filmmakers in the conversation and give them the chance they deserve.