Kathryn Bigelow, centre, is the only woman to have won best director, in 2010, for The Hurt Locker. EPA/PAUL BUCK
By CLAIRE JENKINS
Another year, another Oscars Ceremony. Red-carpeted self-congratulations, the popping of flashes and the anticipation of the popping of corks at the many after parties for the rich and famous. And, once again, another Academy Awards in which no women were mentioned in the important category of best director.
In the 91 years that the awards have been running, only five women have been nominated for this coveted award – and only one, Kathryn Bigelow, has come away with the statuette: this represents about 1% of nominees and winners.
It’s a shockingly low statistic, even when you take into account that a mere 8% of Hollywood’s top 250 films in 2018 were directed by women. In 2017 America’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission found Hollywood to be guilty of discrimination against female directors, but as yet there have been no significant shifts in the number of women directing.
But while there is clearly much to do, there may be some small tremors discernible on Hollywood’s Geiger counter. Take Mimi Leder‘s newest film On the Basis of Sex, about the career of US Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Leder was effectively ostracised by Hollywoodafter the commercial failure of Pay it Forward (2000), so her return to directing with a biopic of one of America’s most prominent feminist icons suggests that Hollywood is softening in its treatment of women on, and off, screen.
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CLAIRE JENKINS IS A LECTURER IN FILM AND TELEVISION STUDIES, UNIVERSITY OF LEICESTER
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