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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Utah chapter.

Not too long ago, the nominations for the 92nd Academy Awards were posted for all to see, and for the 87th time in the history of the Oscars, not a single woman was nominated for the Best Director category. This is incredibly disheartening as so many wonderful films created this year had amazing women behind the camera. These films also earned a huge amount of respect from critics and viewers around the world, but The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences failed to recognize this fact. As a correction to this, and as an attempt to give these brilliant directors some of the recognition they deserve, here is a list of the women (and their movies) to whom we should all be paying more respect and attention. 


Lulu Wang – The Farewell

This comedic drama, based on Wang’s own family, is so personal and vulnerable that it is impossible to overlook just how brilliant it is. The story follows a young Chinese-American woman (portrayed in a breathtaking way by Awkwafina) who travels to China to visit her dying grandmother. Lulu Wang’s approach to this story is incredible. She captures the cultures and feelings of both New York and China while giving her audience a look into the lives of herself and her characters in a way that is indescribable. The film as a whole is both funny and emotional, yet it never feels forced or uncomfortable. Even though Wang will not get an Oscar for her brilliant film, she can feel confident in the start of her career knowing that her film earned better reviews than Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Scorsese’s The Irishman, and Baumbach’s Marriage Story (all of which are frontrunners for the 92nd Academy Awards).


Olivia Wilde – Booksmart

This directorial debut of the multi-faceted Olivia Wilde has definitely become one of my favorite movies of all time. She does an incredible job creating a female friendship that is hilarious, touching, and inspiring in this transformed buddy comedy. The film follows Amy and Molly (with incredible performances by Kaitlyn Denver and Beanie Feldstein) as they set out to experience and embrace their party sides the night before they graduate. Throughout the movie, Wilde’s timing is comedic gold. She does a great job of making her audience fall in love with her two leading heroines as they share the experiences, confidences, and insecurities that only best friends can. This film, its astounding director, and its two main characters exude a talent that is extremely deserving of some recognition. Wilde knocked it out of the park with her first directorial credit and she can feel as confident as Lulu Wang knowing that her film also earned better reviews than Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Scorsese’s The Irishman, and Baumbach’s Marriage Story.


Lorene Scafaria – Hustlers

This brilliant drama offers a view and reconfiguration of a strip-club through the female gaze and is directed in a way that changes the worldview of anyone watching. Scafaria’s direction in this film brings an intelligent inquiry into class divisions and brings audiences a refreshing take on the American crime film. The film follows the true story of a group of New York strippers who drug and rob their Wall Street clientele in search of justice and equity. With an incredible cast (Jennifer Lopez, Cardi B, Lili Reinhart, Constance Wu, Lizzo, and Keke Palmer, just to name a few), a gripping storyline, and a visionary talent running the show, it is shocking that this film earned no recognition from The Academy. However, Lorene Scafaria and her fans can feel proud knowing that her film grossed more than $150 million at the worldwide box office and gave the world a unique account of the financial crisis that took place in 2008 NYC.


Melina Matsoukas – Queen and Slim

Like many of the other women on this list, this is Matsoukas’ first feature film, however, parts of her other projects (such as her Director credit for Beyoncé’s Formation) shine through in her work and make this film absolutely stunning. Queen and Slim follows two mismatched people on the run after accidentally killing a white police officer. The film is a road trip, a crime story, and a romance surrounded by a deep sense of social injustice. It also tells a story that creates a new language with which to discuss the black experience in America. Matsoukas has an incredible eye when it comes to stunning images, bright colors, and sweeping camera work, and her mix of art and social awareness makes Queen and Slim so much more than just a film. She brings a voice to the world with this movie, and it is a voice that the world needs to hear regardless of the decisions of the academy.


Greta Gerwig – Little Women

This film is a subversive new take on a novel that has grasped at American hearts for generations. Gerwig’s bold reconstructing of this classic novel is timely, emotionally gripping, and visually gorgeous in every single frame. The amount of thought and care that was put into every detail of this film is admirable and overwhelming. The film follows an American family who struggles to make ends meet but also gives everything they have to those less fortunate than them. It is a film full of passion, incredible talent both on and off-screen, and a genuine love for filmmaking that is expressed throughout movie. Greta Gerwig has earned some recognition from The Academy in the past for her film Lady Bird and again this year for the adapted screenplay for this film, however, the fact that she was left out of the discussion for Best Director this year is absurd. Her talent, passion, and respect for film making are imprinted on the audience as they leave the theater, and that is a skill that only a few in a century possess. 

All of these films, and the women behind them, are completely stellar and definitely worth watching. They deserve more recognition than they are receiving, as is the story of women everywhere. I believe that the Academy should strive to be more inclusive in its nominations, however, perhaps the root of this problem lies in us as a society. We need to start looking through more diverse lenses and paying appreciation to those without the capital and means to buy their way to the top. We also need to stop supporting these ‘Boys Clubs’ that keep forming within industries around the world. It is time the Oscars be a place of diversity and acceptance where all gain recognition and are deemed worthy of greatness. It is frankly ridiculous that it has taken us 92 years to make almost zero progress in this arena, and I hope we can all make this change happen for all of the Academy Awards to come. Until then, give these women and their incredible films the attention they deserve and enjoy the diversity and incredible lessons that come with them. 

Photo Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5


Ry Iverson is a transgender sociology alum of the University of Utah. He grew up in Apple Valley, California and moved to Utah to be closer to family. He enjoys listening to music, reading, cooking, drawing, traveling, and helping others. He enjoys writing about his favorite TV shows, cooking, LGBTQ experiences, and advice, and in his free time he can be found laying on the ground outside taking in the world. Enjoy Ry's articles and everything he has to offer!
Her Campus Utah Chapter Contributor