The official list of nominations for the 92nd Academy Awards were released yesterday and they featured some pretty major surprises for film fans around the country. For starters, Warner Bros. Joker leads the nominees for 2019 with 11 total nominations, beating out the likes of The Irishman, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and 1917. The most curious development however was the lack of women directors in the "Best Director" category this year, something that has raised many eyebrows from viewers and now Academy members are taking notice too.
Actress Bette Midler took to Twitter to remark about the lack of nominees for female directors, especially given how many well received movies that fit that distinction were released this year. She went on to joke that perhaps the female directors should have their own ceremony.
"No women received noms for Best Director Oscar even though many exceptional films were directed by women this year," Midler wrote. "Maybe we just get our own show called the Osc-hers? I guarantee it will be way better organized and way more entertaining!"
No women received noms for Best Director Oscar even though many exceptional films were directed by women this year. Maybe we just get our own show called the Osc-hers? I guarantee it will be way better organized and way more entertaining!— Bette Midler (@BetteMidler) January 14, 2020
The all-male nominees for Best Director this year include Todd Phillips (Joker), Martin Scorsese (The Irishman), Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood), Bong Joon Ho (Parasite) and Sam Mendes (1917), who walked away with the Best Director prize at the Golden Globes. Perhaps the biggest surprise is that Greta Gerwig didn't land a nomination for her new adaptation of Little Women, Gerwig having been nominated for the prize in 2018 for her film Lady Bird. Midler herself was previously nominated for two Academy Awards in 1980 and 1992 for her work in The Rose and For the Boys, respectively.
Other notable female directors that delivered critically acclaimed movies in 2019 that were left out of the nominees are A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood's Marielle Heller (which saw star Tom Hanks land a nomination), Hustlers' Lorene Scafaria, The Farewell's Lulu Wang, Queen & Slim's Melina Matsoukas, Honey Boy's Alma Har'el, and Booksmart's Olivia Wilde. The Director's Guild awards did at least nominate Har'el and Matsoukas for their "First-Time Feature Film" award, but also left the female directors out of their main feature nominations as well, which the Golden Globes also chose to do.
When Gerwig was nominated two years ago she became the first woman since director Kathryn Bigelow to gain a nomination; Bigelow became the first woman to win Best Director in 2010 on behalf of The Hurt Locker. Gerwig and Bigelow are just two of six women to be nominated for the award by The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences, following Lina Wertmuller (Seven Beauties), Jane Campion (The Piano), and Sofia Coppola (Lost in Translation).