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From the Pages of Orlando Weekly: Academy Awards absence of nominations for films directed by women

Image: Oscar Statuette, oscars.org
Image: Oscar Statuette, oscars.org

This year’s Academy Awards broadcast has been plagued with setbacks. First, the on-again, off-again hosting debacle with Kevin Hart — there’s still no host announced for this Sunday night’s event. Last week we learned that the custom of having the previous year’s acting award-winners present trophies to the new winners would not be observed this year. Then it was announced that four major categories — editing, cinematography, live action short, and makeup and hairstyling — would be announced off-air, which threw the industry into a furor.

But perhaps the worst Oscar fail this year is the absence of nominations for films directed by women, despite an upwelling of popular and critically acclaimed films including Lynne Ramsay’s You Were Never Really Here, Tamara Jenkins’ Private Life, Karyn Kusama’s Destroyer, Debra Granik’s Leave No Trace and Chloé Zhao’s The Rider.

In 91 years, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has nominated only five women in the best-director category. Only one female director has ever won, and no woman of color has ever been nominated.

Seriously: What the hell? We’ve got four women running for president in 2020. If Americans are ready for a black woman president, the members of the Academy – allegedly creative thinkers all – are going to have to find a way to do better, or risk becoming entirely irrelevant.