Greta Gerwig (Little Women), Lulu Wang (The Farewell), and Lorene Scafaria (Hustlers) are just some of the snubbed.
On Monday, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association unveiled the nominees for the 77th annual honors. Bong Joon Ho (Parasite), Sam Mendes (1917), Todd Phillips (Joker), Martin Scorsese (The Irishman), and Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood) were all included for Best Director, Motion Picture, leaving out buzzed-about 2019 filmmakers like Greta Gerwig (Little Women), Lulu Wang (The Farewell), Céline Sciamma (Portrait of a Lady on Fire), Kasi Lemmons (Harriet), Marielle Heller (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood), Lorene Scafaria (Hustlers), and Olivia Wilde (Booksmart), to name a few.
It’s been almost two years since Natalie Portman got up on stage during the 2018 awards ceremony and called out the “all-male nominees,” and it’s been even longer since a female director was nominated. The last time a woman entered that particular race was in 2014 when Selma director Ava DuVernay received a nomination for the 2015 awards ceremony. Even then, she was the only woman in a predominantly male roster that year. It was the same deal with Zero Dark Thirty‘s Kathryn Bigelow in 2012 when she was the only woman nominated for best director ahead of the 2013 ceremony.
In the lifespan of the Golden Globes, which will have run for 77 years with the January 2020 awards show, only five female directors have ever been nominated in the category. Aside from the previously mentioned, there’s Barbra Streisand (nominated twice for Yentl and The Prince of Tides), Jane Campion (The Piano), and Sofia Coppola (Lost in Translation). Bigelow had also previously been nominated for best director for The Hurt Locker. Streisand is still the only woman to actually win the category with Yentl.
In this year’s top two categories for film — best drama and best comedy — none are helmed by women and few even focus on women as the main stories. Drama includes 1917, The Irishman, Joker, Marriage Story, and The Two Popes. Of those, Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story is the outlier which tells the complex, emotional divorce proceedings between characters played by Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson. Comedy includes Dolemite Is My Name, Jojo Rabbit, Knives Out, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood, and Rocketman. Rian Johnson’s Knives Out centers the “whodunnit?” film around actress Ana de Armas.
Of the films directed by women in 2019, none earned more than two Golden Globe nominations. Gerwig’s Little Women received them for Saoirse Ronan’s performance and Alexandre Desplat’s original score, Wang’s The Farewell received one for Awkwafina’s performance and one for best foreign language film, Frozen 2 (co-directed by Jennifer Lee) earned nominations for best animated film and best original song, and Lemmons’ Harriet received nominations for Cynthia Erivo’s performance and original song. Those that earned one nomination each were Heller’s A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, for Tom Hanks’ performance; Wilde’s Booksmart, for Beanie Feldstein’s performance; Scafaria’s Hustlers, for Jennifer Lopez’s performance; Nisha Ganatra’s Late Night, for Emma Thompson’s performance; and Sciamma’s Portrait of a Lady on Fire, for foreign language film.
Many of these films and directors entered awards season with tremendous buzz from critics and pundits. The HFPA seems specifically behind the times with Gerwig, who was snubbed previously for directing Lady Bird and later earned a best director nomination for the Oscars. This year, Little Women has been glowing through the awards race. Since premiering at the Cannes Film Festival — where Sciamma won two top awards, including the coveted best screenplay honor — Portrait of a Lady on Fire felt like a frontrunner, with many critics hailing it as one of the year’s best films. Though it didn’t earn an impressive box-office haul, Wilde’s Booksmart struck a nerve with critics. Additional buzz has been focused around The Farewell and Hustlers.
Perhaps the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will do better.