Awards season is in full swing and this year, like any other, is a reminder of the inequality in Hollywood. This year it is especially relevant, with campaigns like #MeToo and “Times Up” covering headlines, but it’s important we discuss a problem which many may not even realize exist: lack of representation for females behind the lens.
Earlier this year, the Golden Globes kicked off award season with a list of nominees for “Best Director”, comprised solely of males. The Oscars, since first premiering in 1929 have only nominated five females in directing, and only one has ever won. The fifth and most recent nomination was given this year to Greta Gerwig for “Ladybird. This imbalance in representation shows us just how much progress still has to be earned when fighting for equal representation of women in Hollywood.
Looking at the culture of Hollywood, it’s easy to see how systemic sexism has become so ingrained in the film industry. Women have been viewed as objects for as long as movies have been made. It is because of this that the “Times Up” movement has received such positive feedback from women across the country and has especially made huge headway in the industry.
The likelihood of a female director being contracted with a studio to oversee a movie is insanely slim compared to that of a male director. And, even if she directs an amazing movie which brings in a large profit and has great reviews, the odds of her receiving adequate recognition and formal awarding of her accomplishments are even slimmer.
The sad truth is that female directors can bring in equal, if not more, box office earnings, receive amazing reviews and earn huge profits, and still not receive the same recognition or follow-up opportunities as male directors. Women in Hollywood, just like any other industry, must work twice as hard just to earn half of the chances.
Studios jump to hire already-established male directors and The Academy jumps to praise them. They are safe and familiar to Hollywood. Females on the other hand, because of the initial lack of representation and recognition, continue to be labeled as “risks”.
We have got to begin giving credit where credit is due. The Academy has failed us over and over again by failing to provide fair and accurate credit, and yet we still trust them to deem the worthiness of films in a society which is progressing much faster, subsequently leaving them behind. Every year during awards season, females are left out of the picture when it comes to recognition and praise for their work.
By not providing fair opportunity and recognition to female directors in the industry, we are continuing to create a culture which neglects the intellect and talent of females everywhere. It’s discouraging for the directors themselves and females everywhere to watch such talent go unmentioned. Does is not make you wonder how many amazing films and narratives we have missed out on because a female director has been passed up for a male yet again?
As a society, we should show Hollywood that we want to see more women in the director chair. And that we want to see their work recognized. By supporting female directors through showing up in theaters and voicing our own opinions of their efforts, we can make it clear to those who make the decision of the “best” in the industry that we are tired of seeing their talents go unnoticed.