Three films directed by women nominated for 2017 Academy Awards

2017 Academy Award nominees 

This year's Oscars was not as white but still very white, and still very male. Only two films directed by women were nominated for Academy Awards--Ava DuVernay ("13th") and Maren Ade ("Toni Erdmann"). One short live action film, "Sing" directed by Kristof Deák and Anna Udvardy won an Oscar. That's it. 

Only four women have been nominated for best director since 1929.  Only Kathryn Bigelow, has won for "Hurt Locker" (2008). Lina Wertmuller was nominated in 1976 for "Seven Beauties", Jane Campion in 1993 for "The Piano" and Sofia Coppola in 2003 for "Lost in Translation". Let's talk odds here for winners: 1 in 88. 

It's hard to note the invisibility of women at the Academy Awards since there are so many women working as actresses or producers in film, however they are not being nominated for directing. Andrea Arnold's Grand Prix winner at Cannes in May 2016 was snubbed - "American Honey". 

2016 women wore mostly red
In the group photo for last year's Oscars, many of the women are wearing red. We have a long way to go for nominated films that salute both race and gender, for nominating filmmakers who are people of color and women. 

The mixup about Barry Jenkins' "Moonlight" winning Best Picture this year was deplorable, still it won that award, and Best Supporting Actor (Mahershala Ali) and Best Adapted Screenplay (Jenkins). Using innovative cinematography and editing it is about a young gay black boy growing up with his drug addicted mother and befriended by an older black male who is a "good" drug dealer. He grows into a teenager, and a man. Compare this with "La La Land", a white heterosexual musical set in LA , so unrealistic and illusional it was able to gather 13 nominations and six wins just for that. We can't escape the world we live by keeping it safe from authentic representation; only in Hollywood is that possible.

Overused words by winners this year : amazing, journey, honored, stories, luck, God. 

Moira Jean Sullivan
Alliance of Women Film Journalists
Swedish Film Critics Association
Professor of Cinema, City College of San Francisco


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