Disappointed but not surprised: No female directors nominated for best motion picture, best director, best screenplay for 77th Annual Golden Globes


Petter Dutton via Wikipedia Commons

The sign outside the red carpet of the Golden Globe Awards. The 77th Annual Golden Globes will take place Jan. 5, 2020. No females were nominated for best director, best screenplay, best film.

By Katie Johnson, Prosper High School

Editor’s Note: Article content may be offensive to some readers.

I’m dumbfounded — and so are other female filmmakers and film enthusiasts.

Despite women directing 15% of  all feature films in 2019, an 11% increase from the yearly average, no female directors or their films were nominated for “Best Motion Picture – Drama,” “Best Director” or “Best Screenplay.” Only five women have ever been nominated for “Best Director,” one of the most prestigious awards at the Golden Globes. This is the fifth year in a row in which no women were nominated. In all 77 years of the Golden Globes existing, Barbara Streisand is the only woman to ever win the award for her 1984 film, Yentl.

In this day and age, gender equality is at an all-time high with females securing higher-level positions and recognition for their hard work and dedication — or at least you’d think. While this is certainly the case for a lot of industries, especially women trailblazing the film industry with record-breaking amounts of directors and other high-level positions being female, award shows still don’t seem to recognize these hard-working women.

2019 itself had some of the most diverse group of female filmmakers releasing box-office hits. “Little Women” directed by Greta Gerwig, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” directed by Marielle Heller, “Harriet” directed by Kasi Lemmon and “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” directed by Céline Sciamma. In an interview with Variety Magazine on Monday, director of “Honey Boy,” Alma Har’el openly criticized the Golden Globes.

Sony Pictures Entertainment Youtube

“It’s obvious they have no awareness at all,” Har’el said. “They’re immersed in this perpetuated activity of basking in male excellence and overseeing this whole new world we’re trying to build with new voices of women and people of color being part of the conversation. They don’t pay attention to new voices or value in them in the same way they value men they are familiar with.”

After nominations came out Monday, president of the Golden Globes organization Lorenzo Soria rebutted the backlash on social media.

“We don’t vote by gender,” Soria said. “We vote by film and accomplishment.”

Har’el responded in a now-deleted tweet, shutting Soria down, and exposing the lavish treatment voters get.

“Oh please,” Har’el’s tweet said. “If you only saw how these people get pampered with private gifts, private concerts and events over four months. They vote by comfort and star f–ing.”

“They dare to say they don’t judge by gender but that’s exactly what they do,” Har’el said in her Variety interview. “There were so many films this year that connected with audiences and critics as well as performed at the box office, and this group is out of touch and doesn’t see any of us. Zero women scriptwriters. Zero best films by women. Zero women directors nominated. I will not live my life as a filmmaker who plans to keep working subjected to a group of voters that doesn’t see us.”

Har’el, in my opinion, is the shepherd, a guardian angel amongst underrepresented groups of filmmakers. Her nonprofit, Free The Work, is a platform for those groups to get their work showcased. She is one of the top advocates for female filmmakers, and stands as a beacon of light in the dark, guiding those who need to overcome adversity in a predominantly male-dominated industry.

You, the reader, might wonder how something as big as this impacts a mere high school student. I’ll tell you why — the film industry itself is a man’s celluloid world. As a young female filmmaker actively doing my best to pursue a successful career in film, the odds are already stacked against me. Award shows such as the Golden Globes are one of the biggest ways to get one’s name out there. Witnessing the lack of female directors receiving recognition for their dedication to their craft is both discouraging and encouraging.

Personally, I’m driven by passion and perseverance. I like adversity. It’s how I work best. Tell me I can’t accomplish something or it has never been done before, and I will do it. While it hurts to know the chances of making it are slim, it only makes me want to work harder and smarter, much as Har’el is currently doing to create a path for future female directors to follow. I hope to one day become that same beacon of light guiding others to greatness.

This story was originally published on Eagle Nation Online on December 13, 2019.