This year’s Oscars saw zero ‘female directors’ nominated for the second year running. As the night began, Natalie Portman made an impactful statement on the red carpet with her black Dior floor-length dress and velvet cape that was soon to be the talking point of the evening, as she courageously featured the names of several female directors that she believed had not been recognised for their work in the past year. Two male opening presenters then went on to point out the lack of inclusivity in the directing category as they quipped that there were so many great directors nominated this year but felt there was something missing from the list.
Ahead of the night there had already been much ado about this year’s Oscar nominees for directing — a list devoid of any women for the second straight year. As one of the Oscars’ more prominent categories, the all-male directing field had garnered the most attention, especially after a successful year for women-led films, including Greta Gerwig’s “Little Women,” Lulu Wang’s “The Farewell,” Lorene Scafaria’s “Hustlers,” Olivia Wilde’s “Booksmart” and Melina Matsoukas’s “Queen & Slim,” as these women directed 15 percent of the year’s top-grossing films. The topic sparked opinions questioning how still in this modern day women only make up 30 percent of Oscar nominees for non acting awards while men hold the majority of nominations in these categories by a wide margin of 70 percent.
Speaking on the red carpet, Natalie said: “I wanted to recognise the women who were not recognised for their incredible work this year in my subtle way.” I wanted to make a powerful statement honouring females that had been snubbed in this year’s nominations’’
Despite the controversy around female directors the night saw some improvements amongst other categories with female nominations and wins. Julia Reichert picked up the winning award for best-documentary for ‘American Factory’, and told the pressroom backstage that she wanted there to be more solidarity among women in the industry. “We’ve got to support each other and not fit into the patriarchy, not fit into the boys club,” she said.
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