Where are the women?

2020 Oscar nominations lack female representation



Kathryn Bigelow is the only woman to ever win an Oscar for best director for her work on the film The Hurt Locker.

Anna Blumenthal, Staff Reporter

Ever since I was little, I have been sort of a movie fiend. This mainly comes from growing up with my father who is a huge film junkie and gives me a recommendation daily. Because of this, I have always had a deep appreciation for movies and have to constantly go to see new ones that look interesting. Therefore, it has been my guilty pleasure to watch the Oscars for the past six years.

Although I tend to look forward to the award show, the past few years I have been disappointed with the nominees and winners. I was expecting the 2020 nominees to change my attitude for the better, but this year has been one of the biggest disappointments of them all.

Throughout the year, many female-dominated movies have been released such as Little Women and Bombshell that were some of the best movies that I have seen in a while. With all of the strides that women have been taking in Hollywood recently, I was sure that women would dominate the award season this year. Sadly, I was mistaken. Despite directors such as Greta Gerwig, Lulu Wang and Marielle Heller creating incredible films (Little Women, The Farwell and A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood), the nominations for best director were all male.

Nominations are made by both online and paper ballots which Academy members fill out. The voting begins in December and results get announced around mid-January.

Out of the 91 Oscar ceremonies that there have been, Kathryn Bigelow is the only one woman has ever won the award for best director. Furthermore, only five women have ever actually been nominated for the category itself. It seems as though no matter how much effort and passion a woman puts into her film, she will always get overlooked for a male director.

Personally, I was shocked to see that Gerwig didn’t even get so much as a nomination. As an actress in my own drama department, I know the amount of time and patience that goes into blocking a scene. A simple two-person scene that only lasts for about five minutes can take up to two days to fully work out. The film Little Women constantly has scenes in which large groups of characters are together at the same time. This means that for every single five-minute scene that made up the two-hour movie, Gerwig had to determine the actions and spacing of each different character at all times. I cannot even fathom the amount of time that would take to put together as a director. For her to not get the acknowledgment she has earned for that project is insulting.

Each year it seems like there is one female who has created or starred in an incredible film, but is still overlooked. For example, last year Heller was also overlooked for her film Can You Ever Forgive me? despite it having one of the strongest plots I had seen that year. The movie was enough to score Melissa Mccarthy a nomination for best actress in a leading role and Richard E. Grant a nomination for best actor in a supporting role, but Heller herself was not on the list of nominees for best director. That list also looked as the one this year did considering it was entirely male.

I don’t think the Oscars will truly start bringing me the same joy that they used to until all people in the film industry are treated equally for their accomplishments. All the directors nominated are talented and worked hard on their movies without a doubt, but I think it is ignorant to think that those directors did anything more special than the female directors did. Many of the directors nominated such as Quentin Tarantino and Martin Scorsese already have won Academy Awards and have gotten acknowledgment for their work in the film industry. I’m not entirely sure who all will win an award this year. Sadly, I’m 100% certain that a female director won’t.