Oscar nominations shut out female directors — again

Oscar nominations shut out female directors — again
“Leave No Trace” director Debra Granik, right, was shut out of the 2019 Oscar nominations, which were announced Tuesday morning. (Scott Green / Bleecker Street)

Once again, the Oscar race to be named best director has narrowed down to five male nominees.

The 2019 Oscar nominations, which were announced on Tuesday morning, did not include any female directors. Instead, this year’s nominees in the directing category are Spike Lee (“BlacKkKlansman”), Adam McKay (“Vice”), Alfonso Cuarón (“Roma”), Yorgos Lanthimos (“The Favourite”) and Pawel Pawlikowski (“Cold War”).

Female directors were shut out despite the numerous women who directed acclaimed movies in the past year, including Chloé Zhao (“The Rider”), Lynne Ramsay (“You Were Never Really Here”), Tamara Jenkins (“Private Life”), Debra Granik (“Leave No Trace”), Marielle Heller (“Can You Ever Forgive Me?”) and Karyn Kusama (“Destroyer”), to name a few. (Three of them — Granik, Jenkins and Ramsay — have been nominated for Independent Spirit Awards.)

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences unveiled its list of contenders after the all-male announcements from the Directors Guild of America, the Golden Globes and the Critics’ Choice Awards.

Only five women have ever been nominated for the Oscars’ director honor throughout the awards ceremony’s history: Lina Wertmüller (1976’s “Seven Beauties”), Jane Campion (1993’s “The Piano”), Sofia Coppola (2003’s “Lost in Translation”), Kathryn Bigelow (2009’s “The Hurt Locker”) and Greta Gerwig (2017’s “Lady Bird”). Bigelow is the category’s only female winner.

Additionally, this year’s nominated titles in the running for best picture, as well as those nominated in the animation category, are all directed by men. And of the 20 acting performances nominated this year, only two are from a female-directed film: Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant in “Can You Ever Forgive Me?,” directed by Heller.

Female directors are represented in the categories of foreign-language film (Lebanon’s “Capernaum” is directed by Nadine Labaki), documentary (Betsy West and Julie Cohen co-directed “RBG” and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi co-helmed “Free Solo” with Jimmy Chin), documentary short subject (Rayka Zehtabchi directed “Period. End of Sentence.”), animated short film (Domee Shi helmed “Bao,” Alison Snowden co-directed “Animal Behaviour” with David Fine) and live action short film (Marianne Farley directed “Marguerite”).

Elsewhere, women are also absent in the categories of cinematography (despite last year’s milestone by Rachel Morrison), score, editing and visual effects. And though four female screenwriters were recognized last year, only a single woman is nominated in each screenwriting category this year: Deborah Davis, who shares screenplay credit on “The Favourite” with Tony McNamara; and Nicole Holofcener, who co-wrote “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” with Jeff Whitty.

Yet when it comes to costume design, as well as makeup and hairstyling, all nominees are women or include a female on the team. Additionally, four of the five nominees for both original song and production design include a woman on board. Such is the same for two nominated titles in sound editing and one nominated movie in sound mixing.

The winners of the 91st Academy Awards will be revealed on Feb. 24.

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