As announced today, the 2019 nominees for the 76th Annual Golden Globes' Best Director category went to an all-male lineup that included Bradley Cooper for A Star is Born, Alfonso Cuaron for Roma, Peter Farrelly for Green Book, Spike Lee for BlacKkKlansman, and Adam McKay for Vice.
Variety reports that there were a number of women directors that prognosticators thought might be nominated, including Karyn Kusama (Destroyer), Marielle Heller (Can You Ever Forgive Me?), Tamara Jenkins (Private Life), Josie Rourke (Mary Queen of Scots), Lynne Ramsay (You Were Never Really Here), and Elizabeth Chomko (What They Had).
In the Golden Globes Awards’ seven-decade run, only five women have only been nominated for the Best Director, Motion Picture category. This year, no female directors were nominated in the category by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, to the dismay of women actors and industry activists who have called for more diverse considerations.
Despite the increased prominence of successful women in the industry, such as Lady Bird director Greta Gerwig and A Wrinkle in Time director Ava DuVernay, women—especially women of color—are still largely underrepresented in the director’s chair. Across 1,100 popular films from 2007 to 2017, the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative found that there were only 43 women who worked as directors, and they were mostly white.
The Time’s Up movement in Hollywood has shed light on sexual harassment and gender discrimination that plague women in the film and television industry. Despite these efforts, there is still a clear barrier of entry for women directors who have been snubbed for nominations at the Globes.
When presenting the Globes’ Best Director award last year, actress Natalie Portman pointedly noted that all the nominees were men. Most notably, Gerwig was not considered for the category, despite receiving the Globes’ Best Picture award for Lady Bird. Others also said that Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins and Mudbound director Dee Rees were passed up, despite directing critically-acclaimed films.
“Backstage, I heard they said I was the only woman to get the best director award, and you know, that was 1984,” said Barbra Streisand at the Globes last year about her film Yentl. “That was 34 years ago.” Streisand was nominated twice for her directorial work—the second being The Prince of Tides in 1992—and still is the only woman to receive the honor.
As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, only four women have been nominated in the category following Streisand. In 1994, Jane Campion was nominated for The Piano; Sofia Coppola earned a nomination in 2004 for Lost in Translation; Kathryn Bigelow in 2010 for The Hurt Locker and in 2013 for Zero Dark Thirty; and Ava DuVernay in 2015 for Selma.
On the flip side, the awards did bring a number of diverse nominations this year in other categories. Black Panther, Crazy Rich Asians, and BlacKkKlansman—films that all had directors of color and/or majority POC cast—are being considered for multiple categories, including Best Motion Picture. Sandra Oh will be the first Asian actress to host the Golden Globes, and she is also nominated for Best Performance in the television series Killing Eve.