The highly coveted directing category has been filled with five male directors, including Martin Scorsese for The Irishman, Todd Phillips for Joker, Sam Mendes for 1917, Quentin Tarantino for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and Bong Joon-ho for Parasite.
“Congratulations to those men,” actress Issa Rae offered as she announced the all-male nominations.
— Kathleen Newman-Bremang (@KathleenNB) January 13, 2020
Like many other major award programs this season, this year’s Oscars nominations ignored many female directors, with Greta Gerwig, director of Little Women, receiving the most notable snub.
Gerwig was widely expected to be nominated for her work directing Little Women, which received six other nominations, including Best Picture, Best Costume Design, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Original Score.
Saoirse Ronan was nominated for Best Actress and Florence Pugh for Best Supporting Actress.
Lulu Wang, director of The Farewell and Marielle Heller, director of A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood were also notable absences in the category.
For Florence Pugh, nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Little Women, the all-male directing line up reinforces the importance of female-centred films like Little Women.
“She’s literally made a film about this,” Pugh told EW regarding Gerwig’s snub. “She made a film about women working and their relationship with money and their relationship with working in a man’s world. That’s literally what Little Women is about, so [this] only underlines how important it is — because it’s happening.”
In its 92 years, the Oscars has only ever nominated five female directors and only one woman, Kathryn Bigelow has won. Gerwig is the most recent female director to earn an Oscar nomination, for Lady Bird in 2018.
“It’s disheartening that even as the number of women nominated for awards in documentary, short film, and technical categories increases, there have still only been five women considered for the Best Directing award in its 92-year history,” Women In Film LA executive director Kirsten Schaffer said in a statement.
“The Academy has made efforts to balance its voting bodies, but gender equality and diversity do not just happen. Without deep systemic change in the industry and a real commitment to equity in film finance, distribution, and marketing, this bleak trend will continue.”
The Oscars is also facing criticism for its mostly white nominees. Cynthia Erivo, who played Harriet Tubman in Harriet, is the only person of colour nominated for an acting award.
One Black acting nominee … despite a plethora of chances to reward so many amazing performances from Black, Latinx and Asian actors this year. One nominee doesn’t excuse this #OscarsSoWhite lineup.
— 𝚑𝚒𝚜𝚙𝚊𝚗𝚒𝚌 𝚙𝚒𝚡𝚒𝚎 𝚍𝚛𝚎𝚊𝚖 𝚐𝚒𝚛𝚕 (@mathewrodriguez) January 13, 2020
A number of non-white actors were snubbed despite being recognised in other award programs including the Golden Globes. Awkwafina in The Farewell, Jennifer Lopez in Hustlers, Eddie Murphy in Dolemite Is My Name, Lupita Nyong’o in Us, are just some of these actors.