“Honey Boy” director Alma Har’el has an idea for how to revamp the Golden Globes voting selection process. Her proposal, to create gendered categories as a way to reach parity, comes after the news that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association failed to nominate a single female director or screenwriter for a Golden Globe.
“Unless we have a new category for women directors — the same way we have [separate] actor and actress categories — we won’t see any changes,” Har’el told Variety Monday after nominations were unveiled.
In its 77-year history, the Golden Globes have only nominated five female directors — Barbra Streisand, Jane Campion, Sofia Coppola, Kathryn Bigelow and Ava DuVernay. Only Streisand, for 1984’s “Yentl,” has ever gone home with the prize. The Globes are handed out by approximately 100 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a voting body Har’el openly calls “out of touch.”
“It’s obvious they have no awareness at all,” she says. “They’re immersed in this perpetuated activity of basking in male excellence and overseeing this whole new world we’re trying to build with new voices of women and people of color being part of the conversation.”
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She adds, “They don’t pay attention to new voices or value them in the same way they value men they are familiar with.”
The Directors Guild of America and the Oscars are also routinely chided for declining to honor women behind the camera despite major gains for female directors in recent years. But Har’el calls the Globes “the most problematic” for being “so wrapped up in their political transactions.”
After nominations were announced Monday, organization president Lorenzo Soria defended the shut-out, saying, “We don’t vote by gender. We vote by film and accomplishment.'”
Har’el quickly shut him down on Twitter, responding in a since-deleted tweet, “Oh please. If you only saw how these people get pampered with gifts, private concerts and events over four months. They vote by comfort and star f—ing.”
She elaborated to Variety, “They dare to say they don’t judge by gender but that’s exactly what they do. There were so many films this year that connected with audiences and critics as well as performed at the box office, and this group is out of touch and doesn’t see any of us. Zero women script writers. Zero best films by women. Zero women directors nominated. I will not live my life as a filmmaker who plans to keep working subjected to a group of voters that doesn’t see us.”
Har’el doesn’t just talk the talk on social media. The director, who began her career working on music videos, advocates on behalf of women directors through her nonprofit, Free the Work, an online database for directors from underrepresented groups.
“I feel very fortune I have a platform to speak up,” Har’el said. “People are scared to talk about this.”
Though Academy Awards voters don’t have a much better track record when it comes to lauding women filmmakers, Har’el has more faith the Oscars could course correct in a year that’s has a rich representation of female voices. Lulu Wang (“The Farewell”), Greta Gerwig (“Little Women”), Lorene Scafaria (“Hustlers”), Olivia Wilde (“Booksmart”), Mati Diop (“Atlantics”) and Melina Matsoukas (“Queen and Slim”) are some of the women directors behind some of 2019’s most acclaimed films.
“The Academy does more genuine efforts to educate voters and expand the group they have with women and people of color,” Har’el says.
Har’el hopes other female filmmakers aren’t discouraged by the lack of parity from awards show voters.
“Our work and our perspectives are the future of cinema,” she says. “Do not make politically and financially driven award shows be the endgame of your career. Stop looking for justice at award shows. Connect with audiences. Build communities. Take your power back.”