Oscars: Women Shut Out for Best Director

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Bong Joon-ho, Sam Mendes, Todd Phillips, Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino are nominated in the best director category at the 2020 Oscars.

Women are once again left out in the best director category for the 2020 Oscars.

Bong Joon Ho for Parasite, Sam Mendes for 1917,  Todd Phillips for Joker, Martin Scorsese for The Irishman and Quentin Tarantino for Once Upon a Time in...Hollywood will compete in the best director category.

"Congratulations to those men," presenter Issa Rae said after reading the nominees.

For the 2020 ceremony, Lulu Wang (The Farewell), Greta Gerwig (Little Women), Marielle Heller (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood), Lorene Scafaria (Hustlers) and Alma Har'el (Honey Boy) were all notably left out.

If Gerwig had been nominated, the nod in the category would have solidified her as the first woman to be nominated for directing twice. She was previously up in the category in 2018 for Lady Bird. Additionally, Wang would have become the first woman of Asian descent to be nominated.

Only five women had been nominated for the directing Oscar: Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker), Lina Wertmüller (Seven Beauties), Jane Campion (The Piano), Sofia Coppola (Lost in Translation) and Gerwig. In 2010, Bigelow became the first and only female director to win in the category.

The nomination announcement follows recent criticism of the Golden Globes for excluding women in the directing category. Two years ago, Golden Globes presenter Natalie Portman took a jab on live TV at the Hollywood Foreign Press Association when she announced, "Here are the all-male nominees" for director. The trend of missing female directors continued at the Golden Globes when women continued to not be honored in the category.

After Portman called out the all-male nominees at the 2018 Golden Globes, Gerwig was nominated for the best director category for Lady Bird at the Oscars. Despite the criticism following the 2020 Golden Globes and the Director Guild of America Awards for their male-dominated best director categories, Gerwig and other female directors were still left out at the 2020 Oscars.

Barbra Streisand remains the only woman to ever win the Golden Globes best director prize. She was the first female director to be nominated and won in 1984 for Yentl, and was again nominated in 1992 for The Prince of Tides. Campion, Coppola, Bigelow and Ava DuVernay are the only other female directors to be nominated in the category, with DuVernay's 2015 nod for Selma being the most recent.

According to the latest study from USC's Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, the number of top-grossing films from female directors reached a new high in 2019. The study found that 10.6 percent of the directors of 2019's top-grossing movies were women, which is the highest percentage in 13 years and a major jump from 2018's 4.5 percent.

While the number of female directors has increased in the past year, the study also found that the percentage of female directors from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups has dropped from last year's 21.4 percent to 16.8 percent. The ratio of white directors to underrepresented directors is approximately 5-1. Historically less than 1 percent of all directors in the last 13 years were women of color. DuVernay and Jennifer Yuh Nelson are the only two underrepresented directors that had more than one movie appear across the 1,300 films sampled.

Time’s Up chief operating officer Rebecca Goldman weighed in on the 2020 shut out, saying, "This is why Time's Up exists — to ensure women in entertainment and across industries get the opportunities and recognition they deserve. And we won’t stop fighting until they do."

Female directors did make strides in other categories this year including best feature documentary, international film and the multiple shorts races. The Academy noted that “a record 62 women were nominated, almost one third of this year’s nominees.”

Rae and John Cho announced the 2020 Oscars nominations Monday morning. The hostless ceremony will take place at The Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on Feb. 9.