#OscarsSoMale? Lack of Major Female Nominees Sparks Outcry

“This is not about whether a film is good,” says Women and Hollywood founder Melissa Silverstein. “It’s about access and opportunity”

Last Updated: February 4, 2019 @ 4:56 PM

The Oscar nomination list is here, and Film Twitter isn’t happy about the lack of female nominees for Best Director and several other major below-the-line categories.

A year after Greta Gerwig earned a Best Director nomination for “Lady Bird,” the category was back to being an all-male affair as Adam McKay (“Vice”), Alfonso Cuaron (“Roma”) Pawel Pawlikowski (“Cold War”), Spike Lee (“BlacKkKlansman) and Yorgos Lanthimos (“The Favourite”) were nominated.

Meanwhile, in the Best Picture category, which lists producers as nominees, only five women were listed among the 25 producers credited for this year’s field of eight contending films. Overall, of the 225 nominations handed out on Tuesday, 62 went to women. While that is the highest number in Oscar history, that still means that women only account for 28 percent of the nomination field.

“Remember this is not about whether a film is good,” said Women and Hollywood founder Melissa Silverstein in a Twitter thread posted Tuesday morning. “It’s about access and opportunity.”

Silverstein pointed to several female directors that did not get the serious consideration that their male peers did, namely Debra Granik for “Leave No Trace” and Chloe Zhao for “The Rider.” She also noted that while Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant earned nominations for “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” the film’s director, Marielle Heller, did not.

“Debra Granik hasn’t been nominated for best director and that is just as tragic as Spike Lee not getting nominated which has been rectified this year. She makes extraordinary films. There would be no Jennifer Lawrence without Debra,” Silverstein wrote.

“Bradley Cooper got about $40 million for his 1st movie ‘”A Star Is Born”‘] – and it’s great- but let’s remember that his film gets to the finish line ahead of some others because of the investment that is made in the campaign,” Silverstein added. “I know it’s hard for people who are not living in the weeds and don’t see women’s names as directors all the time to believe that women make movies that should be nominated year in and year out. But they do.”

There were some positives for women in film, though. Hannah Beachler, the production designer for “Black Panther,” became the first African-American woman to be nominated for Best Production Design. Also, while the nomination list was disappointing for women behind the camera, there’s a sign of hope for women in narrative.

That’s because the two films that led the pack in nominations, “Roma” and “The Favourite,” were films that featured women in all the core roles. “Roma” stars Yalitza Aparicio and Marina De Tavira each earned nominations on Tuesday, as did “Favourite” stars Olivia Coleman, Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz. In the 90-year history of the Oscars, only three Best Picture winners feature women in the lead and main supporting roles: “Chicago” in 2003, “Terms of Endearment” in 1984, and “All About Eve” in 1951.

Read more reactions about women and the Oscar nominations below: