The Oscar nominations for the 95th Academy Awards were announced today by actors Riz Ahmed and Allison Williams and there was one thing notably missing – female directors.
Precisely zero women were named as potential winners in the Best Director category, though Sarah Polley’s Women Talking did get a surprise place on the Best Picture list. The writer-director also bagged a nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay for the same film, which was drawn from Miriam Toews’s 2018 novel about an isolated religious colony struggling to reconcile with their faith after a series of sexual assaults. Yet she still didn’t make the Best Director list.
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Optimistic observers had been hoping to see a mention for Charlotte Wells’s directorial debut Aftersun [which our critic called a “bruised, tender autofictional debut about a young woman looking back at her complicated relationship with her father”] – but it wasn’t to be. The film’s star Paul Mescal was recognised in the acting categories but it was overlooked for both direction and best picture.
There have now been 468 nominations for the Best Director award but only eight of those nods have gone to women. Jane Campion has been nominated twice, so that makes just seven women who’ve been in that spotlight. The award has been given out to 74 directors or directing teams – only three times to women.
It’s particularly depressing to be here again, when in recent years the trend seemed to be going the right way. Both the 93rd and 94th Oscars rewarded female directors.