Barbie director Greta Gerwig was notably snubbed in the best director category during the Oscar nominations on Tuesday. But following last year’s omission of any female filmmaker in the category, Anatomy of a Fall’s Justine Triet received a nomination.
Triet, Yorgos Lanthimos (Poor Things), Christopher Nolan (Oppenheimer), Jonathan Glazer (The Zone of Interest) and Martin Scorsese (Killers of the Flower Moon) were nominated in the coveted category Tuesday morning.
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Gerwig is a notable snub, as the Barbie director, throughout the awards season, received various best director nominations (the Directors Guild of America, the Golden Globes, Critics Choice) and wins (Palm Springs International Film Fest). She was also on various pundits’ prediction lists for best director, including from The Hollywood Reporter. Frontrunner Alexander Payne (The Holdovers) was also omitted.
Last year, no woman was nominated for best director. The nominees were Martin McDonagh (The Banshees of Inisherin), Todd Field (Tár), Ruben Östlund (Triangle of Sadness), Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (Everything Everywhere All at Once), and Steven Spielberg (The Fabelmans). That was also in a year in which many Oscar contenders were helmed by women: Sarah Polley for Women Talking, Gina Prince-Bythewood for The Woman King, Maria Schrader for She Said and Charlotte Wells for Aftersun, who were all omitted.
The Academy has only nominated seven women (eight with this year’s nominations) in the best director category, and only three have won. Gerwig (for Lady Bird) along with Lina Wertmüller, Sofia Coppola, Kathryn Bigelow, Emerald Fennell, Chloé Zhao and Jane Campion are the only women nominated in the century-long history of the Academy Awards.
Bigelow won for The Hurt Locker in 2009, Zhao won for Nomadland in 2020 and Campion won for The Power of the Dog in 2021. Zhao was nominated in the category alongside Fennell for Promising Young Woman, which was the first time more than one woman was nominated in the category.
When speaking to The Hollywood Reporter following her nomination Tuesday, Triet said she was “surprised” about the lack of other female nominees. “Of course, I’m so, so lucky and very proud of all these things,” she said, taken aback with emotion for Anatomy of a Fall‘s multiple nominations, including for best picture. Adding, “It’s a very huge fairy tale for us and it gives me a lot of confidence for the future.”
The best director category is voted on by almost 600 members of the directors branch. Women rarely get recognized in the directing category, but that doesn’t stop their films from being nominated for best picture. Last year, for example, Women Talking (by Polley), received a best picture nomination. In history, Randa Haines’ Children of a Lesser God was nominated for five awards in 1987, including best picture but not best director. Similarly, Barbra Streisand was snubbed for a directing nomination for The Prince of Tides in 1992, despite its seven other nominations, including best picture. With many more in between, Ava DuVernay was recently snubbed while her 2014 film Selma was nominated for best picture. And this year, Gerwig’s Barbie was nominated for best picture.
Comparatively, the Directors Guild of America, which announced its nominations two weeks ago, nominated Gerwig, Lanthimos, Nolan, Payne and Scorsese. But it was the first-time director category that boasted a more diverse lineup, as has been the case in the category in prior years. This year’s roster included all people of color and four women: American Fiction’s Cord Jefferson, Chile ’76’s Manuela Martelli, Shayda’s Noora Niasari, A Thousand and One‘s A.V. Rockwell and Past Lives‘ Celine Song. Only 12 women have been nominated in the feature category at the DGA Awards’ 76 year history.
Two things to note: For the first time in Academy history, three of the 10 movies nominated for best picture (Anatomy of a Fall, Past Lives and Barbie) were helmed by a woman. Gerwig has now become the first director ever to have their first three (solo) directorial films be nominated for best picture: Lady Bird, Little Women and Barbie.
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