Nearly two years after Natalie Portman presented the nominees for Best Director at the Golden Globes by pointedly saying, “And here are the all-male nominees,” the prestigious awards ceremony has once again honoured exclusively male filmmakers for 2020, a move which seems almost laughable given the amount of incredible women-led films up for consideration this year and the annual awards show’s history in this department.
Since its inception 77 years ago, only one woman – one! – has ever won Best Director at the Golden Globes – Barbra Streisand for Yentl in 1984. Five women have been nominated for best director (two twice) in total, the most recent being Ava DuVernay for Selma in 2015.
The maths says it all: 77 years, 76 men, one woman.
Now to this year. After being snubbed for her critically acclaimed directorial debut, Lady Bird, in 2018, Greta Gerwig once again missed out on recognition for her upcoming film Little Women, while Olivia Wilde’s Booksmart didn’t make the cut despite being dubbed the female version of iconic teen movie Superbad. Lorene Scafaria’s Hustlers, Lulu Wang’s The Farewell, Alma Ha’rel’s Honey Boy and Marielle Heller’s It’s A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood all received critical acclaim, but none made the list.
Not even Céline Sciamma’s Portrait of a Lady on Fire, which won Best Screenplay at Cannes Film Festival in May, was deemed good enough for a nomination.
As the dust has settled, women in Hollywood have responded to the lack of recognition for female directors with Charlize Theron, who was nominated for Best Actress for her role as Megyn Kelly in Bomshell, calling the whole debacle “really, really ridiculous.”
“It’s tough,” she told the Los Angeles Times. “It’s really, really tough. And I think it gets really frustrating when we have to remember that women directors, especially, are just trying to get their numbers up. They represent 10% of our directors in the industry, and when you have a good year like we had this year with such great work, it is incredibly frustrating. No woman wants to get nominated because it’s the right thing to do. It’s really, really ridiculous. It’s not cool. It’s really hard, and I think it’s unfair, and it’s why we can’t stop this fight. We gotta keep making noise until we’re heard and these stories get recognised.”
Meanwhile, Saoirse Ronan, who was nominated for Best Actress for her role in Little Women, dedicated her thank you statement to director Gerwig. The two also worked together for Lady Bird, which saw Ronan get nominated for Best Actress in 2018 and Gerwig similarly ignored.
“Getting to play Jo March, one of the most inspiring characters in literature, still today, has been an honour. I am eternally grateful to Greta Gerwig for her guidance and partnership, and for her fierce perseverance that brought this incredible cast together and created an environment for us to become a real family and tell this very special story,” Ronan said in her statement. “My performance in this film belongs to Greta as much as it does myself and I share this recognition completely with her.” Subtle shade, but shade none the less.
Honey Boy director Alma Ha’rel took a more action-focused stance, saying that she can now see from the inside that things aren’t going to change anytime soon. “Good morning to everyone that’s writing me about the #goldenglobes. I feel you but know this. I was on the inside for the first time this year. These are not our people and they do not represent us. Do not look for justice in the awards system.” She finished with: “We are building a new world.”
Good morning to everyone that’s writing me about the #goldenglobes
I feel you but know this.
I was on the inside for the first time this year. These are not our people and they do not represent us.
Do not look for justice in the awards system.
We are building a new world. https://t.co/IK7YNy5J5S
— Alma Har'el🌪 (@Almaharel) December 9, 2019
Perhaps just like Rihanna’s answer to Victoria’s Secret with her inclusive Savage x Fenty range and runway show, we need to create the change we want to see when it comes to awards ceremonies – Rih, do you have any spare time?