Steven Spielberg predicts: at least one woman will be nominated for Best Director

'The Post' European Premiere - Arrivals

This whole awards season has felt weird/different and exciting. I consider “the awards season” to be everything from November to February, by the way. November was when Sex Predatorgate really picked up steam, and people really began talking about what substantive changes should be made, in the world, in work environments, and yes, in Hollywood. It’s not even a question or an opinion anymore, it’s a statement of fact: changes will be made. The status quo is no longer acceptable.

Case in point: after years of quietly noting, Oscar season after Oscar season, how female directors are given short shrift at every level, it finally feels like we’re actually having that f–king conversation. This year, there are three female directors who could conceivably be nominated for their films: Dee Rees (Mudbound), Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird) and Patty Jenkins (Wonder Woman). Of course none of these women directed perfect films, and none of these women are perfect people. But why are they held to a different standard than Ridley Scott or Darren Aronofsky or f–king David O. Russell? The Golden Globes didn’t nominate any of those women for Best Director (which Natalie Portman pointed out, savagely). The BAFTAs didn’t nominate any women either. And now, Steven Spielberg is saying that he hopes/expects at least one woman to be nominated for the Best Director Oscar this year.

Steven Spielberg is embracing this time in Hollywood! The 71-year-old legendary director spoke with ET’s Lauren Zima at the National Board of Review Awards on Tuesday night about this unique period in the entertainment industry, calling it “powerful, a watershed for women, a watershed for men, who will learn to listen or those who have been listening.”

And The Post director didn’t shy away when asked about Natalie Portman’s clear dig at the all-male directing category at this year’s Golden Globes.

“There’s also a watershed happening right now, slowly, maybe not fast enough, for women directors,” the three-time Oscar winner noted. “I mean you have Patty Jenkins. We have some amazing women that have come forward, you know Mudbound and Lady Bird. This is a pretty incredible year, and I think you’ll be seeing some nominations. I’m predicting at the Oscars this year for a woman director, if not several.”

At the same event, ET also asked Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins about the headline-making moment from Portman. “What could you say? It made me laugh, and it made me smile,” she said. “Look, it’s been a little glaring that women directors don’t get nominated so often and it is odd. Particularly when their films are being celebrated in every other way, so I thought it was interesting to highlight it. And what a difficult category to present without saying something about it, so she did it so perfectly.”

[From ET]

It sounds to me like one of the most respected directors of all time – a man who could be and likely will be shortlisted for an Oscar for directing The Post – is openly telling the Academy voters that they need to make this right. We’re in the Oscar-nomination-voting period right now, where Academy members are selecting the nominees (the noms will be announced on January 23rd). Spielberg has been around for a while – he knows that if the Academy voters refuse to nominate at least one woman for Best Director, there will be hell to pay.

I’d also like to point out that this is not the conversation that Spielberg wanted to have. It’s true that he’s always promoted women and worked closely with women, and he tried to make The Post’s Oscar campaign about how he is this amazing ally to women. But I think he’s been caught off guard by how justifiably angry women are, and he’s trying to do his best. I guess.

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41 Responses to “Steven Spielberg predicts: at least one woman will be nominated for Best Director”

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  1. Nicole says:

    WW is not an Oscar worthy film. I’m all for women getting nominated but it doesn’t do any favors to nominate an okay movie. The awards should be for something excellent. Lady Bird and Mudbound are beyond excellent. And Jordan Peele for Get Out…he should not be left out of the conversation and I feel like he’s also getting the shaft.
    I’m all for not nominating men for okay movies. The academy needs to stop awarding mediocre films

    • Neelyo says:

      But they’ve always done that. The history of the Oscars is littered with mediocre films being awarded for reasons that have about 50% to do with quality. When a deserving person/film wins, it’s usually accidental.

      It shouldn’t be forgotten that the awards were created to publicize the film industry, It was never about quality. The best films of the year are usually the ones that don’t win Oscars.

      Never could stand Spielberg and I’ve actively hated him since the Megan Fox thing.

      • Nicole says:

        I know they have and I’ve always hated it. If we are going to be starting over in a sense they need to stop awarding mediocre or okay movies across the board. There’s no way Patty Jenkins should even been in the mix at this point. And definitely not over Peele. No way.
        And I say this as someone that thoroughly enjoyed WW

    • Rose says:

      Agreed, I hated WW, thought it was so terrible.

      • Nene says:

        Agreed, Wonder Woman is an overrated. mediocrity, whether its from a man or a woman, should not be rewarded. (Just my opinion)

    • Mia4s says:

      “Oscar worthy”?…bless. Look I don’t necessarily disagree about the excellence factor but again you are making the mistake of thinking Oscars are or ever will be about artistic merit. They are about the story nominating the movie provides, the zeitgeist, and above all else…promotion! Nominating WW (which I loved, but no it is not perfect and yes there have been better films this year) is any top categories is a fantastic “story”.

      Peele is a huge long shot, particularly as DelToro’s all but guaranteed nomination and means the category will not be all white (harsh but true). Gertwig has the best shot among the women but I’m not living a fantasy; the Academy is and remains the Academy.

      • Nicole says:

        Guys I’ve been watching the Oscars my entire life. I’m a huge film geek. I have friends that work in public relations and roll out Oscar campaigns for clients. I’m also a black woman. I have no disillusions as to what gets Oscar nominations. I have no disillusions to anything in life never have.

    • EOA says:

      Stop with this bull. Whenever women make some advancement, there are people who come along (including other women) who say, “well, I want a woman to succeed but only if she’s perfectly perfect in every way.” So a lot of people said, “I want a woman to be president but not Hillary Clinton because she’s not ideologically pure… because she stood by her husband… because she only got elected because she was First Lady, etc.”

      We all know how that worked out. Expecting perfection of a woman before we are willing to allow them to succeed is just another way of preventing women’s success.

      • Nicole says:

        Oh geez. Its not expecting perfection. I don’t want patty jenkins getting a nom over Greta or Dee. WW is not an Oscar level film. Its enjoyable and great but not deserving of a nod. At all. There’s a difference between expecting perfection and pushing a woman forward that does not deserve it on merit either. WW from a man would not deserve a nod. So get out of here with that argument.
        I voted for HRC. She’s one of the most qualified candidates to ever run. Not even in the same league here.

      • OG Cleo says:

        I haven’t seen “Mudbound” yet, so I won’t go into a comparison including that film. But “Lady Bird” is light years ahead of “Wonder Woman.” The script is superior, the acting is perfect, the editing is remarkable, etc.

        “Wonder Woman” is FINE. I liked Chris Pine and Robin Wright in it, but I’m sorry, Gal Gadot was just not that good, and the climactic battle scene was very silly and tropey. I can go on if you want.

        I’m not holding “Wonder Woman” to a higher standard, I’m holding it to the same standard as every other movie. It occupies the same space as “John Wick” for me: well choreographed and highly enjoyable and watchable.

        Let’s not silence each other’s opinions by claiming we have the moral high ground just because someone disagrees with us? You ever wonder why so many regulars left?

    • Una says:

      WW being Oscar worthy is not even its biggest problem. It is a super hero movie. Superhero movies don’t get nominated for director categories. Nolan did not get nominated for The Dark Knight and many other great superhero movies were shut down from non-technical categories. Logan was an amazing superhero movie that came out this year and there is no Oscar buzz around it.
      Mudbound is a Netflix movie which disqualifies it from an Oscar nomination in the eyes of the Academy so Greta Gerwig is the biggest hopeful here. An outside candidate is Sophia Coppola but that movie lost its buzz completely.

    • littlemissnaughty says:

      LOL I’m so glad you said it first.

      Look, I’m all for women being recognized. But why can’t we do both? Can’t we expect better films AND women to be nominated? The solution can’t be that we nominate so-so films (I enjoyed WW very much but the best comic book movie this year was definitely Thor). Do both. It’s possible.

      And let’s talk about Jordan Peele. I’m f*cking furious that Get Out is being ignored, it was THE movie of 2017. When is there ever something really new? It’s all been done. This was new. I was floored. Also because it shouldn’t have been so new.

    • PiMo says:

      I disagree. I loved WW, it was one of the best movies of the year for me and I’ve seen a lot of them so far (still to see Mudbound, it being easily accessible is making me delay watching it). I enjoyed WW more than I enjoyed Lady Bird.

      I miss the days of Oscar movies being also crowd pleasers. Lady Bird was great, but I liked Frances Ha better. I loved Get Out, I loved WW, I did not love Lady Bird. Saoirse Ronan, however was amazing and she would be a deserving winner.

      Patty Jenkins did something revolutionary. She directed a blockbuster movie, which of all the super hero movies dominating the box office, became the highest grossing origins movie; which became a critics darling, it got a PGA nomination and is listed as one of the Top 10 movies by AFI. She’s also rewritten the script without any credit, fought to implement her vision. It was that female director’s vision which made the big bucks. This will be opening doors for more women directors, for more confidence in their judgements; and shutting the doors on those who would counter that movies directed by women don’t make money.

    • Anna says:

      I liked Natalie Portman’s statement but I also agree that Peele shouldn’t be left out of the conversations. It’s nice to have white women nominated but let’s not group in black men with the privilege of white men

  2. Lindy79 says:

    The broader issue is the ratio of female:male directors in general. Women are simply not given the opportunities to direct, or the support and backing of studios and therefore are not receiving nomination worthy material.

    • jetlagged says:

      Agreed. How many times have we seen a dude get handed a directing gig with a budget of $150 million and his biggest claim to fame before that is the super-low budget indie he shot in 10 days on his iphone? Patty Jenkins directs a movie that wins Best Film at the Independent Spirit Awards, is named Movie of the Year by the AFI, and nabs the lead actress an Oscar, and what comes next for her? Directing commercials and tv episodes for more than a decade before she finally gets her shot with Wonder Woman. It makes me want to scream.

  3. U.S and them says:

    Any chance of Angelina Jolie getting a nomination for First They Killed My Father?

    Like every year some average films will be nominated and some good films will be snubbed. I saw Good Time last night and thought it was fantastic but it has been snubbed during Awards season thus far and I bet lesser films get nominated ahead of it at the Oscars.

    • Maya says:

      Haha I would love for Angelina to get nominated – just imagine the pain her haters will feel. CB page will be glorious to read.

      If she won – heads will explode here and on DM where they hate her for no reason.

    • Mia4s says:

      Sadly, the chances are just about zero. Her movie didn’t make the foreign language nominee short list so that pretty much knocked it out of the conversation on all counts.

  4. Miss M says:

    I reallt like Greta. But I think I am the only one who thinks ladybird is so overrated.
    I don’t see it as Oscar level.
    To me, it js the La la land of this year, but better directed and acted.
    Showing myself out now…

    • Scotchy says:

      You aren’t the only one. I thought ladybird was an average coming of age tale. The acting was fine, the script was a ok, it was basically a movie about nothing. Meh…

      • Miss M says:

        Thank you Scotchy, Millee and Pimo!
        I am a movie buff and I started to wonder if I had lost my movie mojo…

    • millee says:

      It’s the stuff the Academy loves unfortunately – and yes, overrated it is. I never really thought the Academy had balls – if they did appreciate quality, Mudbound and Get Out would be getting the same attention if not MORE.

    • PiMo says:

      I’ve just written something similar under another comment. I liked Lady Bird, I did not love it.

  5. Neva_D says:

    Is it weird that I don’t want more women winning this awards season? Don’t get me wrong, I *absolutely* know there are women who more than deserve awards for their work, but I don’t want people to view their accolades as not being genuine because of the current climate. I’m just afraid that if won, it will be not be taken seriously because people (the problematic men of Hollywood) will just say “she only won because that was the year that all those women were throwing a fit.” I want next year to be the year we start seeing more equality during awards season just so nobody tries to write off how deserving they are.

    • U.S and them says:

      If they said that you could say that previous years were dominated by men because of patriarchy.

    • smcollins says:

      @Neva D I totally get what you’re saying, and I have no doubt that’s how some would perceive it, but I also think it’s something that will only grow over time once the playing field has been leveled, not just some kind of one-off. I also don’t think women, or POC, should be denied recognition of their work because of how some will perceive it any more than I think their work should be rewarded just to make a statement. I’m looking forward to a time when the work is simply allowed to speak for itself. But, of course, being able to do/get the work needs to be addressed and remedied first.

  6. SM says:

    I’m so disappointed Mudbound is getting so little love and attention.

    • Una says:

      It is a Netflix movie. It won’t get much love at the Oscars. I hope Mary J Blige could get an Oscar nom for it and maybe cinematography nom for but other than that it won’t be a factor in Oscars.

    • millee says:

      Yes, this and Get Out.

    • PiMo says:

      Barbara Streisand is behind it and promoting it heavily. Powerful people’s endorsements help. It was Jack Nicholson’s campaign for Adrian Brody that got him the Oscar. I think we will see it nominated. I really need to watch it asap.

  7. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    Nobody at the top of their field wants the talent pool exponentially enlarged (re gender, race, et al) , so I ‘get’ their silence on a human level. That being said, get on board or go away. Those speaking proactively are appreciated; at the very least it’s good for business.

  8. Maya says:

    It’s 2018 and we still talk about getting 1 woman nominated for Best Director.

    Hopefully in the near future, there will be a time where we won’t even blink in surprise when 5 women get nominated for the Best Director nominations.

    If there is any justice – Dee, Patty, Greta & Angelina will be nominated this year and one of them will win. These 4 women directed 4 of the best movies last year.

  9. Scal says:

    Can I also just say I want Jordan Peele to be nominated for directing Get Out?

  10. Grant says:

    I think Patty Jenkins definitely deserves recognition for Wonder Woman. Say what you will about the film, but that scene where Diana crosses No Man’s Land and single-handedly draws all the enemy fire so that the Allied troops may advance was chill inducing. People in my theater were cheering. In a year filled with great superhero movies (Spider-Man Homecoming, Thor: Ragnarok, etc.) that scene rises to the top so I’m all for Patty getting some righteous accolades.

    • PiMo says:

      That scene was one the reasons it was above your regular super hero movie. It gave a glimpse of the horrors of a war, we’ve seen the unnecessary human suffering through Diana’s innocent eyes. Patty Jenkins chose to show us an uncomfortable truth, make us uneasy. She could have chosen to let us just eat our popcorn and enjoy a blockbuster.

      It also reminded me of the wonderful movie No Man’s Land from 2001 (Google is my friend) since it took place in no man’s land. I would highly recommend it and if my memory is correct it won the Best Foreign Language Picture at the Academy Awards (Google says I am correct!).

  11. Esmerelda says:

    I found lady bird boring and overrated – but I would enjoy seeing wonder woman nominated. I think Patty Jenkins had to go trough a lot of BS to break into the boys club of big budget superhero movies. In a way, she broke a glass ceiling. I’d like to see that recognised with a nomination… and the movie, while not great, was solid and decent, considering its subject.

  12. TheOtherSam says:

    Have to say, Spielberg may be onto something. If he says there will be a woman nominated for Best Director, or even more than one, I’d pay attention. Nominations in each category are determined by that category’s branch members, meaning directors determine the BD noms, actors determine the Best Actor/Actress noms, etc.

    Spielberg is very powerful in Ampas, I believe he now sits on the Board of Governors. Beyond that he has major pull with his peers and I’ve heard many times is always very active over many years during awards season in terms of calling, communicating, etc. I’m sure he’s been a busy bee this season; if he says he knows there will be a female nominee, I actually believe him.

  13. millee says:

    I feel like Jordan Peele had the most original, riveting, zeitgeisty film with Get Out. Suddenly, Ladybird stormed and now it’s all anybody can talk about. Greta will likely be the only woman to get nominated for Best Director at the Oscars, Ladybird will be nom’d for Best Picture – and Jordan Peele and Dee Rees will be left out.

    I’m sorry, but I’m bothered by the fact that Greta Gerwig turned out a movie that was just her, played by someone else, growing up. I’m tired of the outsider white girl coming of age story being beloved while amazing movies w/ PoC like Get Out and Mudbound get shafted.

    Get Out in my mind will always be best picture of this year. It will be remembered long from now. Greta Gerwig is the awards season golden girl and, once again, the PoC stories, especially the most radical and relevant of them all – Get Out – disappears into the background. Get Out was Jordan Peele’s directing debut, just like Greta with Ladybird. I’m so disappointed and disheartened to see that Get Out is just fading away, but then again I’m not surprised.