Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 February 2020

It's awards season: why are women still being overlooked?

We should be doing better in 2020

Margot Robbie, left, and Kate McKinnon in a scene from 'Bombshell'. AP
Margot Robbie, left, and Kate McKinnon in a scene from 'Bombshell'. AP

Is it just me, or is it almost insulting that Bombshell, a movie about an important moment in the #MeToo movement, went away with just one win from the Critics’ Choice Awards last Monday: Best Hair and Makeup. No joke.

Awards season is well and truly upon us and if we’ve learnt nothing else so far it’s that women and people of colour better brace themselves for a disappointing run. Again.

First there was the Baftas, which nominated an all-white slate of acting talent for this year’s ceremony. And then the Oscar nominations came out and it turns out not a single female director made a film worthy of the Best Director award. I find that hard to believe, especially as Greta Gerwig’s Little Women was nominated for Best Picture. But it wasn’t quite good enough to play among the big guns, it seems. (Those big guns are: Martin Scorsese for The Irishman, Quentin Tarantino for Once Upon a Time in … Hollywood, Bong Joon-ho for Parasite, Sam Mendes for 1917 and Todd Phillips for Joker.) Incidentally, if Gerwig had been nominated in the category, she would have become the first female director to get two Academy Awards nods (she was also nominated in the category in 2017 for Lady Bird). But then surely that would have only gone straight to her head?

On the flip side, let’s look at Tarantino’s incredible run: a whopping 10 nominations. That’s more than he’s ever got for any movie he’s ever made. Again, perhaps it’s just me, but this is not his best film – and this is coming from a genuine ­Tarantino fan. It does have one thing going for it, though: ­Hollywood loves a good navel-gazing film about Hollywood. If only Gerwig knew.

He’s also been nominated in the Best Director category a total of three times. Scorsese has nine under his big burly belt.

Actress Issa Rae, while announcing the nominees for this contentious category, made a quick and witty quip: “Congratulations to those men.”

“Maybe we just get our own show called the Osc-hers?” Bette Midler chimed in on Twitter. “I guarantee it will be way better organised and … entertaining!”

I suppose the other thing we can take from all this is we (and by that I mean women) are not prepared to keep quiet about such snubs any more.

Sure, you could say the bigger issue here is that there aren’t enough women in the industry and their films really weren’t as good as the men’s – and we certainly don’t want pity votes. But let’s look at the stats: there have been only five female Best Director nominees in the history of the Academy Awards. Only one – Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker – has won. That’s in 92 years. I’ve seen enough incredible films directed by fabulous females in my life to know that cannot possibly be a fair and accurate representation of what they’ve achieved.

You’d think that by 2020 we’d have made bigger strides.

Updated: January 18, 2020 10:27 AM

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