The campaign, which is entitled #RememberTheLadies, is designed to run until Jan. 14, and the timing of this campaign is no coincidence. January 6 marks the 2019 Golden Globe ceremony, and the almost 100 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. once again chose not to nominate any women directors this year. Voting opens for the 2019 Academy Awards on Monday, January 7, and the organizations hope their campaign will inspire those voting members to consider a more inclusive list for their ballot.
Directors included in the campaign are Susanne Bier (“Bird Box”), Anne Fletcher (“Dumplin'”), Debra Granik (“Leave No Trace”), Marielle Heller (“Can You Ever Forgive Me?”), Tamara Jenkins (“Private Life”), Karyn Kusama (“Destroyer”), Mimi Leder (“On the Basis of Sex”), Lynne Ramsay (“You Were Never Really Here”), Josie Rourke (“Mary Queen of Scots”) and Chloe Zhao (“The Rider”).
“We looked at people who were on year-end lists, we looked at people who were being touted in other campaigns, and that is how we determined this list,” Women and Hollywood founder and publisher Melissa Silverstein tells Variety. “We know it is not a comprehensive list, but we can do a small slice here and continue to put women’s names out there so we’re not having this conversation next year or the year after.”
The organizations are taking out social media ads to help boost these women’s profiles, but they are also calling “on ally organizations, individuals [and] the media” to further amplify the campaign and keep these names in the minds of voters.
“No longer will people accept the fact that women are missing as just normal, just the way of life,” Silverstein says. “It never should have been our normal, but it was our normal because that is all we knew. So what we are doing is interrupting that whole narrative of men getting the awards and getting the nominations…and saying we want it to be more female and more inclusive.”
In the past, the Academy has had a low nomination rate for women in non-acting categories overall. According to a study from the Women’s Media Center, women represented 23% of non-acting Oscar nominees in 2018, which was up but only marginally from the 20% of 2017. Women directors have fared even worse, with only five women being nominated in that category in the first 90 years of the awards, with only one woman winning (Kathryn Bigelow for “The Hurt Locker” in 2009).
While right now the campaign is focused solely on directors, Silverstein adds that “the whole point of the conversation is to show that inclusion is the right way to be going in this business” in general.
“We would love to expand this further,” Silverstein admits. “This is what we could accomplish this year, but we look forward to continuing to spread the word about the importance of inclusivity in any way we can.”