After back-to-back Oscar wins by female directors, this year’s Academy Award nominee list for best director was back to an all-male quintet, a move that was slammed by Hollywood advocacy organization Women in Film.
“Once again, Academy voters have shown that they don’t value women’s voices, shutting us out of the Best Director nominations. An Academy Award is more than a gold statue, it’s a career accelerator that can lead to continued work and increased compensation,” the organization said in a statement on Tuesday morning.
“That’s why WIF will continue to advocate for the work of talented women directors like Sarah Polley’s ‘Women Talking,’ Gina Prince-Bythewood’s ‘The Woman King,’ Maria Schrader’s ‘She Said,’ Chinonye Chukwu’s ‘Till,’ and Charlotte Wells’ ‘Aftersun,’ to be included.”
Founded in 1973, Women in Film aims to advance and advocate for women in the entertainment industry, pushing for studios and productions to hire more women as directors and department heads. WIF also offers women in the industry career advancement programs such as fellowships and networking workshops and has partnered with the Sundance Institute to create ReFrame, a program designed to help entertainment companies mitigate bias during the creative process.
Of the five films from female directors listed by WIF in their statement, only two, “Women Talking” and “Aftersun,” received any Oscar nominations Tuesday. “Women Talking” received nominations for best picture and best adapted screenplay — director Sarah Polley wrote the script — while “Aftersun” was only nominated in the best actor category for Paul Mescal’s lead performance. Danielle Deadwyler, who was expected to be nominated for best actress for her performance in “Till,” was snubbed.
With the exception of best picture, the nominees for all categories are chosen by their respective wings within the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, meaning that the best director nominees are selected by fellow directors.
The nominees this year were Steven Spielberg for “The Fabelmans,” Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert for “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” Todd Field for “Tár,” Martin McDonagh for “The Banshees of Inisherin” and Ruben Östlund for “Triangle of Sadness.”
In most years, the best director nominee list mirrors the feature film nominee list for the Directors Guild Awards given the similar voting base. With no women getting nominated by the DGA in that category, the chances of an all-male Oscar list were very high. Östlund is the only Oscar nominee this year that was not also nominated for a DGA Award, beating out guild nominee Joseph Kosinski for “Top Gun: Maverick.”
In the entire history of the Oscars, women have only been nominated eight times in the best director category and won only three times. The three women to receive the award are Kathryn Bigelow in 2010 for “The Hurt Locker,” Chloé Zhao in 2021 for “Nomadland,” and Jane Campion in 2022 for “The Power of the Dog.” Campion is also the only woman to be nominated twice, having received her first nomination in 1993 for “The Piano.”