It’s already 2019 but we still have a long way to go to achieve gender equality. We all know the Oscars is one of the biggest institutions out there, existing for almost a century. Sadly, in its 91 years, we have seen just a handful of female directors earn a nod for the elusive award. You can literally count them with just one hand, as only five have been nominated so far and only one won Best Director. In 91 years! Let that sink in.
We believe female directors deserve recognition too, and there are plenty along the years who were definitely more than worthy of the elusive award. This year alone, we saw an amazing pool of filmmakers who should have at least been nominated. We’re putting a spotlight on them and their works, because the Oscars obviously “forgot” to.
Debra Granik – Leave No Trace
Debra is best known for Winter’s Bone, which notably helped propel Oscar darling Jennifer Lawrence’s status as a serious actress. Leave No Trace is another stellar film from the director. According to reports, it became one of the nine films that received a perfect score on Rotten Tomatoes this year. Not to mention, it is included in Barack Obama’s list of favorite movies of 2018.
Lynne Ramsay – You Were Never Really Here
Lynne Ramsey’s third feature film starring Joaquin Phoenix is a remarkable take on the iconic Taxi Driver film. Aside from bagging the Cannes screenplay prize, the thriller has gotten overwhelming positive reviews from film critics, including Marke Kermode who wrote, “You Were Never Really Here is a head-spinningly accomplished work that reconfirms Ramsay as one of the most thrillingly distinctive and daring film-makers of her generation.”
Marielle Heller – Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Even though Can You Ever Forgive Me? got three nominations, including Best actress in a leading role, Best actor in a supporting role, and Best adapted screenplay, its director, Marielle, was noticeably snubbed. The biography-crime-comedy which stars Melissa McCarthy as struggling writer who forges letters from literary legends came out in November and has actually already received 75 nominations and bagged 36 wins—basically every other award body, other than the Oscars.
Karyn Kusama — Destroyer
Karyn’s drama-thriller saw Nicole Kidman in one of her most incredible film transformations yet. Nicole’s “extreme makeunder” was necessary for her role as a police detective, which earned her a Golden Globes nomination, though not from the Oscars. Similarly, Karyn got recognition for her work too, even landing a nomination for the platform prize at the Toronto International Film Festival, best film at the London Film Festival, and best woman director at Alliance of Women Film Journalists. The Academy seriously needs to keep up.
Chloe Zhao — The Rider
Lauded as a masterpiece, Chloe Zhao’s The Rider was a huge hit at Cannes, earned a nod for best film at the Independent Spirit Awards, and named the best film of 2018 by the National Society of Film Critics. Indiewire’s chief film critic Eric Kohn had nothing but good things to say about the “unorthodox Western.” He wrote, “Zhao has become the ultimate cause celebre of the film community, and The Rider provides an antidote to Trumpian ignorance even if its existence predated the concept.” He added, “She may be a long shot for Best Director in this year’s Oscar race, but the degree of admiration she found from contemporaries supersedes the value of any potential trophies.”
Art by Marian Hukom
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