Guillermo del Toro found himself in a bit of a pickle a few weeks ago. Natalie Portman announced the nominations–excuse me, in her words, “ALL-MALE nominees”– for the Best Director category of the Golden Globes. She was just stating the facts, but it highlighted the absence of women being recognized for their directorial skills.
Guillermo del Toro won for The Shape of Water, but there was no awkwardness in his acceptance speech. Later, he commented on Portman’s biting critique to Indie Wire: “I think it was great! She should say exactly what she feels. There is phenomenal work being done by female directors.” He also pointed out that there were a bunch of films by female directors that should be serious contenders: “’Mudbound,’ ‘Lady Bird’ and ‘Wonder Woman’ are all terrific.”
The nominations for the Oscars are out now, and at least the Best Director category isn’t look all male. Greta Gerwig received a nod for her directorial debut of Lady Bird. In the 88 long years of the Academy Awards, only one woman has ever won in that category for the Oscars, Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker. That’s 1 in 88. Oops.
We can’t forget that the Oscars has also been continuously critiqued for it’s bland take on diversity, with #oscarsowhite trending a couple years back. Jordan Peele has been nominated for Get Out in the Best Director category, making him the fifth African American to have ever been nominated. And he might end up being the first African American to ever win.
These awards shows should be about excellence of artistry. But we’ve got to account for all of the people left out, because their projects aren’t funded or taken seriously because of their identity. Del Toro once said of the difficulty of “female-centric” projects: “I have had projects were explicitly the studio has said, this is the limit of your budget because it’s a female character. I still keep writing.” Let’s hope 2018 will continue to be the year we’re seeing diversity on the stage and on the screens.