Once Again, No Women Were Nominated for Best Director at the Oscars

The 2020 Oscar nominations are officially out, and in an unfortunate yet unsurprising turn, no women were nominated for Best Director. Despite the fact many critically-acclaimed movies from the past year were directed by women, the Academy Awards failed to recognize them.

Oscars women director
Greta Gerwig | Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for Critics Choice Association

Women were completely shut out of the Best Director category for the 2020 Oscars

Issa Rae and John Cho announced the nominees for the 2020 Academy Awards. For Best Director, Martin Scorsese, Todd Phillips, Sam Mendes, Quentin Tarantino, and Bong Joon-ho received nominations.

“Congratulations to those men,” Rae quipped.

Rae’s remark about the nominees resembles a comment from Natalie Portman in 2018. At the 2018 Golden Globes, Portman announced the Best Director category.

To draw attention to the fact no women were nominated, she said, “And here are the all-male nominees.”

Greta Gerwig was considered a likely contender

With only men nominated in the Best Director category, it begs the question: What women could have been nominated?

For starters, Greta Gerwig could have been nominated for Little Women. The film earned six nominations, and Gerwig was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay. Little Women also earned nominations for Best Picture, Best Original Music Score, Best Costume Design, Best Actress, and Best Supporting Actress.

“to nominate Greta for best picture and best screenplay and best actresses but not best director just truly speaks to the way we don’t view women as auteurs no matter how much they clearly ARE,” tweeted film reporter Anna Menta.

Had Gerwig been nominated for Best Director, she would have become the only woman to be nominated in the category twice. In all of history, only five women have ever been nominated for Best Director at the Oscars. Only one woman has ever won, and it happened years ago when Kathryn Bigelow won for The Hurt Locker.

Actresses from ‘Little Women’ spoke out about the snub

After Gerwig was left out of the Best Director category, Saoirse Ronan and Florence Pugh commented on the snub. Both Ronan and Pugh received nominations for their work in Little Women. The two women found it unjust that Gerwig did not receive the Best Director nomination.

Ronan said, “… But to me, Greta, since she started, has made two perfect films, and I hope when she makes her next perfect movie, she gets recognized for everything, because I think she’s one of the most important filmmakers of our time.”

“I think the most important thing is Greta made a film about women and their relationship with money, and their relationship with men in a man’s working world. And it’s just highlighting the point. It’s just completely underlining how important this film is, and how the themes are still apparent now. If we think about it like that, it’s a weird blessing in disguise and it’s only highlighting the importance of this story and the importance of men and women to go and watch it,” Pugh said.

Several women made critically-acclaimed films this year

While Gerwig was a strong contender, she is not the only woman who was snubbed by the Academy Awards. Lulu Wang could have been nominated for The Farewell, which would have made her the first woman of Asian descent to be nominated.

Marielle Heller directed A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. Tom Hanks received a nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his work in the movie, but Heller did not receive the Best Director nomination. Alma Har’el’s work on Honey Boy and Lorene Scafaria’s work on Hustlers were also ignored.

“No Greta Gerwig for ‘Little Women,’ no Lulu Wang for ‘The Farewell,’ no Lorene Scafaria for ‘Hustlers,’ no Melina Matsoukas for ‘Queen & Slim’ no Marielle Heller for ‘A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.’ Once again, the Oscars nominated five men for best director. #OscarNoms,” Ramin Setoodeh tweeted.

Writer Jenellicle Riley tweeted, “THE FAREWELL and HUSTLERS were two truly original, excellent and PROFITABLE films both written and directed by women and their total shut-out is discouraging. #Oscars”