In the Oscars’ 92-year history, there have been only five women nominated for Best Director. Greta Gerwig is one of them, recognized with a nod for her directing on “Lady Bird” in 2017.
But the same recognition wasn’t extended for her latest movie, “Little Women,” when the 2020 Academy Award nominations were announced Monday. No women made the Best Director list, despite coming off a record year for female filmmakers making popular movies.
“Little Women” debuted to critical acclaim in December and did secure a nomination for Best Picture, as well as for acting and costuming. Gerwig herself was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay.
But leaving her out of contention for the directing prize was seen as a snub, and part of the larger, longer narrative of the Oscars’ lagging diversity.
Weeks before Monday’s announcement, Gerwig told the PBS NewsHour about what being nominated in the past has meant for her personally, as well as for other women directors and aspiring artists.
Gerwig said she tries not to think about awards, focusing instead on “making the films and connecting with an audience.” But she said her nomination for “Lady Bird” did mean a great deal to her, and she now loves being approached by idealistic, ambitious young women who are inspired to make their own work.
“I can’t tell you how much it means to me when girls who are starting in film school or art school come up to me and they say, ‘I wanted to do it because I saw you do it and I believe in that.’ And that connection with these girls who are so excited, and maybe believed a little bit more because they saw a woman nominated, I think that’s been incredibly meaningful,” Gerwig said.
Kathryn Bigelow is the only woman to have won the directing prize in the history of the Oscars, for 2008’s “The Hurt Locker.” If Gerwig had received another Best Director nomination, she would have become the first women to have been nominated twice for that category.