If I will ask you about ten female directors you admire I’m pretty sure you won’t be able to complete the list.
It’s not like there aren’t any female directors but they mostly go unnoticed.
Gender equality continues to be an ongoing issue in Hollywood. 2019 being another watershed year for women on and off-screen. Even Golden Globes and Academy Awards failed to reflect the masterpieces by women directors.
According to the Los Angeles Times, 10.6% were women directors in the category of top-grossing films in 2019 but this number was just 4.5% in 2018, with women of color still being vastly underrepresented.
If you look up the history of women in Oscar, there are just 5 female directors nominated in the best director category and Kathryn Bigelow being only one winning the award for “The Hurt Locker”.
Despite making some best critic appreciated movies, the year 2019 and 2020 Oscar nominations shut out all the women directors and the nominations
in the category were all men. Greta Gerwing was the only female director in the category nominations in 2018 for “Lady Bird” for 10 years after Kathryn Bigelow winning one in 2010.
Making a statement at Oscar Natalie Portman wore a black Christian Dior cape embroidered with last names of amazing female directors who were
overlooked for nominations of Oscars 2020, including the names of Lulu Wang from The Farewell, Kasi Lemmons (Harriet), Marielle Heller (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood), Alma Har’el (Honey boy), Greta
Gerwing (Little Women), Melina Matsoukas (Queen and Slim) and Lorene Scafaria (Hustlers).
Not only Natalie Portman but presenter Issa Rae’s gave a pointed statement “Congratulations to those men” on introducing the best director shortlist.
Throughout the history of cinema, women have been depicted within the setting of family and the home. It isn’t about women representations in cinema but it’s about seeing and appreciating strong female characters which are not just very domestic-focused.
Despite the fact that audiences and critics have a soft corner for female-directed movies, they are being widely overlooked by the industry they are working within. Not just in award shows female directors are being overlooked by the production houses as well.
According to Hollywood reporter, movies that were written by, produced by, directed by, written by or acted in by women performed well above their expectations, despite having much less money to work with. It’s like working with your one hand tied behind your back. When we look into public funding dedicated to female filmmakers the number is way
less from their male counterparts. 84% of the public funding goes into the films directed by men.
It’s about the women behind the camera and also about those who are in front of it or any women related to cinema. For the lack of women in cinema in the early years of Hollywood, the reason that was believed was
the less number of women going into arts and drama school but according to recent studies there are almost equal numbers of men and women stepping forward to learn movie-making but the number of
female directors is still a big issue.
There’s been always a hint of patriarchy in almost everything around us and movies are not excluded from it. It’s not about recognizing women who are doing great behind the camera but also about giving them equal opportunities and empowering them in all fields.
It’s about making a hell lot of significant changes in the entire process and not just awards which comes once a year to see women in the mainstream as much as we see white men.
So, in Nairobi style “Let the matriarchy begin”.