‘Joker’ leads the pack, but female directors fall behind

Published On January 13, 2020 | By Madison Raye | Arts, News
Joaquin Phoenix attends the premiere for the film “Joker” in Los Angeles, Calif. in Sept. 2019. Joker is nominated for 11 Academy Awards. (REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/File Photo)
Madison Raye

With 11 Academy Award nominations and Oscar night right around the corner, the dark drama Joker is leading the race for Best Picture but the controversies aren’t far behind.

The newest rendition of the Joker’s story is a popular hit with both critics and audiences and the film was also nominated for Best Director, Lead Actor, Cinematography and more.

Other production teams popping the champagne corks on Monday included the filmmakers and actors behind Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood, The Irishmen and 1917. A total of nine films are nominated in 18 categories but one of the hottest stories about the Academy Awards this year involves who got left out.

Best Director Oscar nominees for the 92nd annual Academy Awards (L-R) Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Bong Joon-ho, Sam Mendes and Todd Phillips are seen in a combination of file photos. (REUTERS/Staff/File Photos)

While hosting the nominations, Issa Rae said “Congratulations to those men,” after announcing the nominations for Best Director, which once again included no women.

Rae’s subtle comment  got a lot of traction on social media and raised awareness about an age-old issue in Hollywood

Criticism regarding the lack of recognition for female directors dates back to the ’70s. The first woman to be nominated was in 1977 and the last was 2018.

Over the years, 93 men have been awarded the Oscar for Best Director and one woman. This leaves people irritated especially with the fact that a few women could have been a nominee this year such as Greta Gerwig for Little Women.

Jim Slotek, of the Toronto Film Critics Association, said the results for the nominations aren’t very surprising.

“A lot of the press and various newspaper awards, the Toronto Film Critics Awards were given out last Thursday . . . and then it was the Golden Globes, so you already get a pretty good idea of what’s up there especially the things that are based in L.A.,” Said Slotek.

Slotek, who is a fan of the lead nominee film Joker, said he is pleased that it’s nominated in 11 categories and said he had a feeling it was going to be in the higher ranks.

Slotek said he suspected that women weren’t going to make the cut for Best Director.

“I had a feeling that women directors would be shut out even though there were some amazing films this year, but they just weren’t getting nominated even by the newspaper groups,” Slotek said.

Slotek said there might be some sexual politics involved in the voting.

“It’s crazy because every year you can find like five really good movies and leads that are Oscar-worthy and directed by women… every year there are people who deserve to be there and they’re always snubbed, that’s always the first thing they do when it’s reported on,” he said.

Slotek said he was surprised that there were no African American nominees as last year had the most African American winners in history.

“This year, no African nominees at all and Lupita Nyong’o won like three different critics awards including ours,” he said.

He said that maybe it’s because she didn’t campaign hard enough.

“It’s like an election year, except it’s every year,” he said.

He said that people work hard so that their name is remembered when the comes to voting Oscar nominees.

Only five women have ever been nominated for Best Director and the only woman to have ever won an Oscar was Kathryn Bigelow for ‘The Hurt Locker.’



The Oscars will be held on February 9th at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.

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