Back in 2018, Natalie Portman made headlines for calling out the lack of female directing nominees at the Golden Globes. While on stage to present the award for best director, she quipped: “Here are the all-male nominees.”
Well, for the first time in a long time, the Golden Globes made good on that omission and recognized female filmmakers.
After receiving bad press for shutting women out of the best director category for the last six years, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association — the voting body behind the annual awards show — nominated not one, not two, but three women: Chloe Zhao for “Nomadland,” Emerald Fennell for “Promising Young Woman” and Regina King for “One Night in Miami.”
They will compete against David Fincher for “Mank” and Aaron Sorkin for “The Trial of the Chicago 7.”
It’s the first time in history that more than one woman has been recognized in the best director category at the Golden Globes. Prior to this year, only five female directors had been nominated in more than seven decades — Barbra Streisand (in 1984 for “Yentl” and in 1991 for “The Prince of Tides”), Jane Campion (in 1994 for “The Piano”), Sofia Coppola (in 2004 for “Lost in Translation”), Kathryn Bigelow (in 2010 for “The Hurt Locker” and 2013 for “Zero Dark Thirty”); and Ava DuVernay (in 2015 for “Selma”).
Generally speaking, award shows don’t have a stellar track record when it comes to honoring women behind the camera. The Academy Awards have only nominated five women in the span of 92 years: Lina Wertmüller (in 1976 for “Seven Beauties”), Jane Campion (in 1993 for “The Piano”), Sofia Coppola (in 2003 for “Lost in Translation”), Kathryn Bigelow (in 2009 for “The Hurt Locker”) and Greta Gerwig (in 2017 for “Lady Bird”).
In Hollywood, female filmmakers are still vastly underrepresented. Women accounted for 16% of directors working on the 100 highest-grossing films in 2020, an improvement from the 12% in 2019 and the 4% in 2018. Yet it’s a sign that the entertainment industry falls far behind on gender parity.
Zhao’s nomination for “Nomandland,” a sweeping Western starring Frances McDormand, makes her the first woman of Asian descent to be nominated for best director. King’s nod for “One Night in Miami,” which follows a fictionalized meeting of four legends, makes her the second Black woman (following DuVernay) to nominated.
Streisand is the only women to ever win the Golden Globe for best director. But that could change on Feb. 28 when the annual awards ceremony airs.