By Morgan Harlan | Digital Managing Editor
The male gender has been dominating the field of best director since the Academy Awards were founded. In 92 years, only five women have been nominated in this elite field. This year’s Oscar “Best Director” line-up is no exception, with zero women in the running. Frankly, we all need to take a stand from the blatant misogyny that female directors face and give them the support they clearly deserve.
The 2019 adaptation of “Little Women” was a cinematic masterpiece and box office success. Worldwide, the movie has grossed $131,331,595.
In addition, “Little Women” has racked up six Oscar nominations for best picture, best actress, best supporting actress, best original music score, best adapted screenplay and best costume design.
For best picture, there is one female-directed movie listed: “Little Women.” Greta Gerwig, a seasoned female director, was previously nominated for best director in 2017 for her movie “Lady Bird.” Apparently, the Academy didn’t want to reward Gerwig (one of five women ever nominated) with another.
How can a movie obtain nominations for best picture and best adapted screenplay but fail to be recognized for the mastermind behind the genius of the movie?
Many films with female directors were among the top-grossing films in 2019, including titles such as “Captain Marvel,” “Frozen II,” “Hustlers,” “Abominable,” “Little,” “Little Women,” and “Queen & Slim,” according to the New York Times. A study by the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative at the University of Southern California found that of 113 directors attached to the year’s top 100 films, 12 were women, compared with just five in 2018.
While the ratio of male to female directors is heavily favored to men, women are making their mark on the film industry and are producing some of the most popular and awarded films as well. To ignore their contributions is catering to a history of bias that enables men to think they have the upper-hand.
If we do not invest in female directors, they will never have the power to rival their male counterparts. The disparity stems from the Academy’s inherent bias toward domineering male figures in the film industry.
Men like Harvey Weinstein, the disgraced Hollywood film producer, would not have reached the heights they did if those around them did not turn a blind eye. The Hollywood film culture is in need of renovation because clearly the #MeToo movement has not changed as much as the media hoped.
Jo March, “Little Women” protagonist, an aspiring writer in an era where women were not encouraged to pick up a pen, had professional aspirations for herself in a male-dominated field. Like Jo March, Gerwig is an incredible woman navigating her own professional desires in a man’s world of directing and she deserves the chance to solidify herself as one of the best directors in Hollywood.
The Academy needs to break up the longstanding “boys’ club” of Best Director. The only way to make the Oscars, the most elite award show, truly the most elite, is to honor the women who deserve it.