This is what we really learned from the 2018 Oscars nominations list

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Kayleigh Dray
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This year’s batch of Oscar nominations has finally been unveiled – but what can we learn from them?

The Golden Globes nominations list sparked fury when it was revealed that female filmmakers had gone entirely ignored in the Best Director category.

Instead, five white men were shortlisted for the gong – and the likes of Patty Jenkins, Greta Gerwig and Kathryn Bigelow were all ignored, despite their films finding critical acclaim.

Naturally, this snub did not go unmentioned at the awards show itself: in fact, Natalie Portman – who was charged with presenting the accolade to the winner – took aim at this blatant display of Hollywood sexism by announcing “the all-male nominees” when she stepped up to the podium.

It seems the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences made a note of that Golden Globes controversy, seemingly doing their level best to nominate women across virtually every Oscar category.

An official Academy tally reveals that 40 women received nominations in competitive categories outside of acting this year, matching the record for most ever set in 2016.

And, better still, this includes recognition in traditionally male-dominated areas such as cinematography, directing or film editing.

Greta Gerwig, for example, has been nominated for original screenplay and director for Lady Bird, which also was nominated for Best Picture.

She told the Hollywood Reporter: “I’m between laughter and tears.”

Gerwig – who is now the fifth woman to ever make it into the Best Director category – continued: “I remember watching Oscars when Katheryn Bigelow won [for The Hurt Locker in 2010] and how much it meant to me. I was having a party and I was crying and so moved. It’s deeply meaningful, I’m very moved by all of it.”

Rachel Morrison, meanwhile, just became the first woman to ever be nominated for cinematography thanks to her beautiful work on Mudbound (her competitors, it’s worth noting, are all men).

Alongside Gerwig in the original screenplay category, we have Emily V Gordon for her work with her husband, Kumail Nanjiani, in The Big Sick, and Vanessa Taylor for her work with Guillermo del Toro in The Shape of Water, which also was nominated for Best Picture.

There are three women in the animated feature category, too: Nora Twomey for her work with Anthony Lee in The Breadwinner, Darla K. Anderson for her work with Lee Unkrich in Coco, and Dorota Kobiela for her work with Hugh Welchman and Ivan Mactaggart in Loving Vincent.

And it doesn’t stop there. Other nominees include Mary H Ellis for Baby Driver (making her the sixth woman nominated for sound mixing) and Tatiana S Riegel for film editing (her first ever Oscar nomination). 

First-time director Elaine McMillion Sheldon has also seen her all-female film Heroin(e) nominated in the Documentary Shorts category.

This modestly increased representation of female nominees comes at a time when women in Hollywood have become increasingly vocal about inequality and injustice in the workplace through the Time’s Up movement.

Indeed, many of the films under consideration for Best Picture depict strong women finding their voice – and have well and truly earned their spots on our list of films every feminist needs to watch in 2018.

And yet…

While the nominations list has filled us with hope for progress, there is still a long way to go: Patty Jenkins has again been 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.

African-American filmmaker 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.

And, when you tally it all up, only one woman has been nominated out of the 10 Best Picture slots, one woman for Best Director out of five slots, and zero women of colour in either category.

Actress Amber Tamblyn highlighted the issue in a series of tweets, writing: “The Oscar nominations are not just a problem of exclusion. This is a problem of representation.

“There needs to be more films written and directed by women and women of colour, PERIOD.”

It suggests that Hollywood has listened to our call for equality – and attempted to deliver. However, it’s clear that we still have a very long way to go before the Oscars is truly representative of all the incredible people working in the industry.

You can see the full list of 2018 Oscar nominations here

Images: Rex Features


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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.