This year women created some of the most highly-anticipated films, and yet, the 2020 Golden Globes didn't nominate any women directors, proving the Hollywood Foreign Press Association still has a gender inequity problem. Many of 2019's best films were created by women — see Lulu Wang's the Farewell, Marielle Heller's A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Alma Har'el's Honey Boy, Greta Gerwig's Little Women, Olivia Wilde's Booksmart, and Lorene Scafaria's Hustlers. And while most of these movies received major nominations in other categories — The Farewell was nominated for Best Foreign Language Picture, and Little Women and Booksmart both received acting nods — the personal work the directors was not recognized.
On Monday, the nominees for the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards were revealed, and the all-male list of Best Director nominees included Bong Joon Ho (Parasite), Sam Mendes' (1917), Todd Philipps (Joker), Martin Scorsese (The Irishman), and Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood). All of these films received Best Picture nominations — though Once Upon A Time... is nominated in the Comedy category and Parasite in the Foreign Language category.
Meanwhile, only two out of the 15 films nominated in the three Best Picture categories were directed by women; both are in the Foreign Language category (The Farewell and Portrait of a Lady on Fire). But that's not to say female-directed films weren't recognized in their own ways. As noted above, The Farewell, Little Women, Hustlers, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, and Booksmart all earned acting nominations. And yet, the directors were left out in the cold. And, unfortunately, it's just par for the course of the Globes.
Over 75 years, the Golden Globes have nominated only five women for Best Director, according to the Los Angeles Times. The snub is indicative of greater gender inequity in Hollywood, and the Globes are not the only award show with a history of excluding directors who are women. The 2019 Oscar Nominations shut out female directors, and in the Academy Awards' 91-year long run, only five women have received a Best Director nomination. Only one woman has ever won, Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker, and even more striking, a woman of color has never been nominated in the category.
The Golden Globes' failure to recognize the work of female directors was met with immediate backlash on Twitter, and many women spoke out against the award show's record of exclusion. On Monday, Alma Har'el addressed the Golden Globes controversy on Twitter, writing, "Do not look for justice in the awards system. We are building a new world." The Honey Boy director urged fans not to get discouraged by an unfair award show process and to, "Keep fighting for more women & POC behind the camera by supporting their films."
Mainstream award shows continue to perpetuate gender inequity in Hollywood but, as Har'el noted, movies directed by women reached an unprecedented audience this year. Hustlers became a surprise box office hit with a $33 million opening weekend, exceeding industry expectations. And the positive reviews of Little Women and The Farewell, among others, have raised the profile of these films, leading to bigger releases and, hopefully, bigger audiences. Even if the film's directors didn't receive the appropriate recognition for their efforts, these stories are getting to viewers, and that matters.