The 2020 Oscars Nominations Prove That Not Much Has changed
For a change, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Director choices are mostly white, all-male, and no women.
Nominated: The Irishman, Martin Scorsese; Joker, Todd Phillips; 1917, Sam Mendes; Once upon a Time in Hollywood, Quentin Tarantino and Parasite, Bong Joon Ho.
There are certainly no slackers on the list, but that’s not the point. There aren’t any on the list below either.
Not nominated, or should I say snubbed: Lulu Wang, The Farewell; Marielle Heller, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood; Lorene Scafaria, Hustlers; Alma Har’el, Honey Boy; and Chinonye Chukwe for Clemency.
And last but hardly least, Greta Gerwig, Little Women. It was nominated for Best:
3/ Supporting Actress
4/ Original Music Score
5/ Adapted Screenplay
6/ Costume Design
Conspicuous, by its absence, is the Director category. Glaring is more like it. Greta Gerwig recently won the best director award from the National Society of Film Critics, so the quality of her directing is not in question.
Is there a reason other than outright discrimination?
He who casts the votes wins
In 2012, the Los Angeles Times released the results of a study that revealed that Academy voters are by-and-large Caucasian (94 percent), male (77 percent), and over the age of 60 (54 percent).
Fifteen branches are, “exclusively white and male. Caucasians currently make up 90% or more of every academy branch except actors, whose roster is 88% white. The academy’s executive branch is 98% white, as is its writers’ branch.
Men compose more than 90% of five branches, including cinematography and visual effects. Of the academy’s 43-member board of governors, six are women; public relations executive Cheryl Boone Isaacs is the sole person of color.”
Following the 2016 #OscarSoWhite controversy, the Academy made an effort to include more women and minorities and invited 683 new members. Membership grew to over 6,000 and included women, minorities, and non-US citizens. The same study questioned the Academy’s commitment to keeping up their effort in the years to come.
Here’s the thing. Only the director’s branch of the Academy votes on the nominations for Best Director. And there are darn few women in it. It’s a catch 22.
The Annenberg Institute’s study, “Inclusion in the Director’s Chair: Gender, Race, & Age of Directors Across 1,200 Top Film from 2007 to 2018,” found that females receive fewer opportunities to direct a second film than their male counterparts. Women directed only 4 percent of the top 1200 films in that period, and only 17.4 percent got a chance after their debut film to do another.
Men have had more opportunities at everything for decades. Things are changing, but it’s slow, sticky process, and women are going to have to muscle their way in.
Perhaps it’s a little #Metoo payback as well.
Congratulations to those men
Issa Rae got it right.
But really, if you want to be the best, you’ve got to let all the best play the game and then beat them. Men don’t want to admit that some of those best are women. They are not only their peers but their superiors. The playing field is expanding whether they choose to recognize it or not.
Women will keep fighting, and as long as there are women directors making quality films, they will not have lost. The truth is in the seeing, and the quality of the directing is apparent.
The only other solution I can fathom is, how about a “Best Woman Director” category? Women are not intimidated by men and I’m willing to bet most want to stay on equal ground. But men don’t want women on what they consider their turf.
What do you think?
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