The Oscars failed to nominate any women for directing this year, following two consecutive years of women winning the category.
The Academy Award nominations, announced on Tuesday, did not include women filmmakers such as Sarah Polley (“Women Talking”), Gina Prince-Bythewood (“The Woman King”), Maria Schrader (“She Said”) and Charlotte Wells (“Aftersun”) in the best director lineup. Women have won the category the past two years in a row, with Chloé Zhao taking home the 2021 prize for “Nomadland” and Jane Campion scoring last year for “Power of the Dog.”
The director category is voted by the 573 active members of the Directors Branch. The five cinematic helmers recognized by the Academy are Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”), Todd Field (“Tár”), Martin McDonagh (“The Banshees of Inisherin”), Ruben Östlund (“Triangle of Sadness”) and Steven Spielberg (“The Fabelmans”).
Following the nominations, the organization Women In Film, Los Angeles condemned the Academy for omitting women filmmakers. “Once again, Academy voters have shown that they don’t value women’s voices, shutting us out of the Best Director nominations,” they said in a statement. “An Academy Award is more than a gold statue, it’s a career accelerator that can lead to continued work and increased compensation. 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.”
Seven women have been nominated for director in Oscars history, producing only three winners — Kathryn Bigelow for “The Hurt Locker” (2009), Chloé Zhao for “Nomadland” (2020) and Jane Campion for “The Power of the Dog” (2021). The other nominated women have included Lina Wertmüller for “Seven Beauties” (1976), Campion for “The Piano” (1993), Sofia Coppola for “Lost in Translation” (2003), Greta Gerwig for “Lady Bird” (2017) and Emerald Fennell for “Promising Young Woman” (2020).
The year of Fennell and Zhao was the first time more than one woman had ever been nominated, while Campion’s recognition last year was the first time a woman had returned as a nominee.
Women have made strides in Hollywood over the past few years, especially with the Academy Awards, but improvements are still needed.
Though no women were recognized for directing, Polley’s critically acclaimed drama “Women Talking,” an adaptation of the novel by Miriam Toews, was among the 10 nominated movies for best picture.
Before this year’s best picture nominees, there were 581 movies nominated by the Academy. Only 18 of those films were directed by a woman, starting with Randa Haines’ “Children of a Lesser God” (1986).
The Academy’s selections are only a symptom of the issue that plagues Hollywood. While there’s been a clear improvement over the past decades, there has also been regression, proven by USC Annenberg’s research. The report found that of the 111 directors hired to make the 100 top-grossing movies last year, just 9% were women. That was down from 12.7% in 2021. At the same time, the number of Black, Asian, Hispanic/ Latino and multi-racial and multi-ethnic moviemakers also fell from 27.3% in 2021 to 20.7% in 2022. Women of color accounted for a mere 2.7% of directors of the top 100 movies last year.
The 95th Oscars ceremony will air live on ABC on March 12 from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.