It was a year of great female-driven cinema – but women filmmakers have been ignored in the Golden Globes nominations.
The Golden Globes nominations were announced on 11 December, with many powerful and proficient women recognised for their contributions to cinema. However, there was one category where female filmmakers were notable only for their absence: that of best director.
Five white men have been shortlisted for the best director award, with Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water), Martin McDonagh (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk), Ridley Scott (All The Money in the World) and Stephen Spielberg (The Post) all receiving nominations.
That means that Patti Jenkins was ignored for helming the critically-acclaimed Wonder Woman, the highest-grossing superhero origin movie of all time and the most successful film ever made by a female director. It means that Dee Rees has not been recognised for her period drama Mudbound, a devastating look at historic racial and class divides in the United States that has been widely praised for its direction.
It means that Greta Gerwig was overlooked for directing and writing the beautiful, funny and poignant coming-of-age story Lady Bird, the best-reviewed film in history (until, ironically, its perfect Rotten Tomatoes score was dented by a poor review from a little-known male critic). It means that Kathryn Bigelow was not acknowledged for Detroit, her well-received film about race riots in the summer of 1967.
Even a male-female directing team couldn’t catch a break. Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton, co-directors of Battle of the Sexes, were passed over for inclusion in the best director category, even as the film’s stars – Emma Stone and Steve Carrell – were respectively nominated for best actress and best actor in a musical or comedy.
The absence of any women in the best director category seems particularly galling given that 2017 has been a significantly strong year for female filmmakers, and a difficult year for women in Hollywood more generally.
Film fans on Twitter were quick to express their displeasure at the nominations. Many also noted that Get Out director Jordan Peele (who is African-American) did not receive a nod – and questioned the inclusion of the horror film in the musical or comedy category.
Women being shut out of the Golden Globes director category is pretty much 2017 wrapped up in a shit bow.— Celia (@_celia_bedelia_) December 11, 2017
the golden globes doesn't know women direct films as well pass it on— dani (@greatgerwig) December 11, 2017
“I can’t believe, in a year that so many strong women slayed behind the camera, this is what the best director category looks like for [the] Golden Globes,” wrote Hollywood-based journalist Ali Stagnitta.
Film writer Alicia Malone observed that women have only been nominated for best director seven times in the 75-year history of the Golden Globes, while Vanity Fair correspondent Rebecca Keegan noted the wider significance of women being excluded.
Only seven times in 75 years have women been nominated in the Best Director category at the Golden Globes: Jane Campion, Sofia Coppola, Kathryn Bigelow twice, Ava DuVernay and Barbra Streisand twice (who is the only woman to have won for Yentl in 1983)— Alicia Malone (@aliciamalone) December 11, 2017
The main thing the Golden Globes give a nominee is visibility. Another reason why it’s depressing they went with an all male director category. Few women directors will achieve power of Spielberg, Nolan, Scott without the opportunity to be seen.— Rebecca Keegan (@ThatRebecca) December 11, 2017
We expected more from you, Golden Globes. Here’s hoping the 2018 Oscars will do a better job of highlighting the contributions of women.
Images: Rex Features