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Women Directors Shut Out of Oscar Nominations

This image released by Sony Pictures shows, from left, Florence Pugh, Saoirse Ronan and Emma Watson in a scene from "Little Women," one of the best picture nominees announced January 13, 2019. (Wilson Webb/Sony Pictures via AP)
Women Directors Shut Out of Oscar Nominations
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Once again, it was #DirectorsSoMale at the Academy Award nominations Monday.

"Congratulations to those men," said presenter and actor Issa Rae pointedly after the announcement of nominees for best director. Denied were filmmakers like Greta Gerwig, director of Little Women, which was nominated for best picture and other awards. Lulu Wang’s The Farewell, highly praised by critics, received no nominations.

Continuing another troubling trend was #OscarsSoWhite: Among acting nominations, Cynthia Erivo of Harriet was the only person of color out of 20 actors honored. Awkwafina who won a Golden Globe award for her lead performance in The Farewell was denied a chance at an Oscar.

Other well-known stars like Jennifer Lopez, Beyonce and Robert De Niro were also overlooked.


Jennifer Lopez saw major success in 2019, almost 30 years into her acting career. Her much-praised performance as a New York City stripper in Hustlers was reported to be her best chance for an Oscar. She was nominated for a Golden Globe and other awards this year for her work in the movie. But the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences did not recognize her with a nomination.

from left Lulu Wang, Lorene Scafaria, Melina Matsoukas, Greta Gerwig
from left Lulu Wang, Lorene Scafaria, Melina Matsoukas, Greta Gerwig

Gerwig denied

The 2019’s film version of the famous American book Little Women was nominated for best picture. However, its female director Greta Gerwig was ignored in the nominations. Critics and movie fans had considered Gerwig an extremely strong candidate for a second directing nomination. She was nominated in 2018 for her direction of Lady Bird but lost to Guillermo del Toro for The Shape of Water.

To date, only one woman has won a directing Oscar: Kathryn Bigelow for the 2008 film, The Hurt Locker. Other noted female directors who were passed over this year: Wang for The Farewell, Lorene Scafaria for Hustlers, Melina Matsoukas for Queen & Slim, and Marielle Heller for A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.

... And Gerwig’s husband

Gerwig is married Noah Baumbach, who directed Marriage Story. He also was denied a directing nomination although his movie, like hers, was nominated for best picture.

More women, less diversity

A record 62 women overall were nominated Monday, representing about a third of all nominees. However, the Academy put the most weight behind a few male-driven and man-made movies. It is the 87th time in Oscar history that all the directing nominees are men.

Overall, the 2020 Oscar hopefuls represent the least diverse field since the #OscarsSoWhite campaigns of 2015 and 2016.

However, Bong Joon Ho’s, Parasite, made history for South Korea. It is the first Korean film to be nominated for best international film. It also became the 11th non-English movie nominated for best picture.

The 2020 Oscars will be awarded on February ninth.

(For the complete nominee list go to Oscars nominees.)

I’m Caty Weaver.

The Associated Press reported this story. Caty Weaver adapted it for VOA Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.


Words in This Story

trend -n. a general direction of change : a way of behaving, proceeding, etc., that is developing and becoming more common

diverse -n. made up of people or things that are different from each other