The Facebook Live stream announcement of the Golden Globes nominations took place on Monday, and Wonder Woman was completely snubbed. Many felt the movie and its cast deserved noms, but HFPA overlooking Patty Jenkins in the Best Director category hurts the most. Superhero movies are often in a difficult position during award show season, but many hoped Wonder Woman could be different. The film represented an important cultural moment. It had been over a decade since a woman fronted a film from a major comic-book franchise, and a lot hinged on it's success. The movie broke major box office records, and was well received by critics. It was also a break-out performance for Gadot, who brought a critical complexity to the leading character.
The superhero genre has evolved in recent years, and it's become more common for production companies to bring on acclaimed indie-directors to take over these franchises. This year, comedy director Taika Waititi, who was best known for his vampire satire What We Do In The Shadows, breathed new life into the tired Thor franchise. Monster director Patty Jenkins wanted to take on Wonder Woman for years before the project was finally green-lit, but these directors do have something in common. Their efforts to reinvent the genre and bring new depth and life to these characters will go unrecognized by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association this year.
It's a shame that superhero films are being overlooked, but the fact that women were shut out from the director category is also significant. The nominations went to Guillermo del Toro for The Shape of Water, Steven Spielberg for The Post, Ridley Scott for All the Money in the World, and Martin McDonagh for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Patty Jenkins deserved recognition, but the director nominations are also an enormous snub for Lady Bird's Greta Gerwig.
The gender disparity in Hollywood is often reflected in the awards system, but it's in the director category that women are most often excluded. In the entire history of The Academy Awards, only four women have been nominated, in the awards show's history 89 years. The tiny number of female directors who have been recognized is shocking. Kathryn Bigelow, who was nominated for The Hurt Locker, is the only woman to have won. While this achievement shouldn't be diminished, it is worth noting that the film largely explored a male perspective and story.
Wonder Woman and Lady Bird are still potential contenders for the 2018 Oscar season, but Monday's nominations are not a good sign. This snub represents a massive representation issue in the entertainment industry. In 2016, the number of women succeeding in Hollywood slipped - a study conducted by San Diego State's Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film found that only 7% of the Top 250 highest-grossing films were directed by women. The number of women of color represented is even smaller. The same study found that women only make up only 13% of writers, 24% percent of producers, 17% percent of editors, and 5% of cinematographers. These numbers are small, and while various diversity initiatives (The Women at Sundance program, for example) are trying to make up the deficit, this year's award season is already failing to demonstrate progress.
The rest of this season will be an upward battle for Jenkins, as the bias against superhero films is formidable. Last year, Deadpool was nominated in two categories. This included a Best Musical or Comedy Picture and a Best Actor in a Comedy nomination for it's lead, Ryan Reynolds. For many, this symbolized an overdue recognition for the superhero films. "I was shocked and happy to see that we were nominated in two categories," Reynolds told EW last year. "Seeing the movie nominated is a real glass ceiling moment for the genre." However, the movie was snubbed during the Oscar race, proving that superhero movies have significant hurdles to overcome. The fact Deadpool was acknowledged but the HFPA overlooked Wonder Woman is also worth taking note of.
While the Golden Globes did not recognize Wonder Woman this year, Jenkin's film is being celebrated elsewhere. The film picked up three Critic's Choice nominations, and made the American Film Institute's Top 10 Films of 2017 List. These are small wins, but hopefully the film's continued success will inspire more production companies to pursue work by directors who are women.