Patty Jenkins explains how and why the Academy ignores women directors


We saw when the Oscar nominations were announced on Tuesday that, once again, the Academy voters forgot women directed films too. This is nothing new, only five women have been nominated for Best Director by the Academy in their 91-year history (the article in the link was written before Greta Gerwig received her nomination). And, of course, only Kathryn Bigelow actually won. After all the Academy’s talk of trying to do right by women last year, they didn’t. And you know if we are tired of this bs, women directors must be flat out shattered. Soon after the nominations were read Vulture caught up with Patty Jenkins to get her thoughts.

Hours after the Oscar nominations were read Tuesday morning, Vulture caught Patty Jenkins at the premiere of her new TNT noir series I Am the Night. A half-dozen women directed critically acclaimed movies that could’ve been serious awards-season contenders this year: Debra Granik had Leave No Trace, Chloé Zhao had The Rider, Tamara Jenkins had Private Life, Josie Rourke had Mary Queen of Scots, Karyn Kusama had Destroyer, and Lynne Ramsay had You Were Never Really Here. When the director nominations were announced, all we heard were a bunch of boys! Marielle Heller’s Can You Ever Forgive Me? scored noms for Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Adapted Screenplay, but Heller was shut out of the director category. What gives?

“I have no idea,” Jenkins said, “I’ll tell you this: The Academy is working on this, but the real issue to me is that at the end of the day, no matter what movie you make and no matter how much money it makes, and no matter how diverse the audience is, the voting academy is still very, very limited. Still,” she continued. “As hard as the Academy is working on it, the vast majority of voters, particularly for director, are people who have been successful as directors. So who is that? That’s where this pool [of nominees] is coming from. All of these votes are being made by the same people.” So how do more female filmmakers get into the directing branch? Perhaps the Academy could start by inviting all the women whose movies were ignored this year.

[From Vulture]

I’ll be honest, I’ve seen very few of the nominated movies this year and I haven’t seen any of the movie mentioned in this article. I’ve heard incredible things about You Were Never Really Here and my friends have talked up Leave No Trace but I cannot attest to how those films measure up against the ones that were nominated. But Patty’s point is true regardless, it doesn’t really matter about merit because the pool of voters is so limited. These Academy folks invite their director friends, all of whom are male because ew, wimmin, to vote on movies made by men and decide which of those men should get awarded. I can promise you that if any one of those academy voters were given a valid defense of the movies Patty suggested, every one of them would start their rebuttal with, “well, actually, what she did was…” I love Patty’s suggestion of inviting all those women who were ignored to join the Academy directing branch. That’s a diplomatic answer precisely worded to make her point.

In the meantime, Patty is going to keep chipping away at the Old Boys Club by making entertaining films and working with men who egos aren’t threatened by a talented woman, like Chris Pine. Which makes us the winner because we get more pics like this:

Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images

Photo credit: WENN Photos and Getty Images

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

13 Responses to “Patty Jenkins explains how and why the Academy ignores women directors”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Mia4s says:

    Those pictures are so soothing. 😁

    She’s right. The Director’s branch is highly limited and short sighted. The push for female directors and Academy membership needs to continue full force. As does reminding the Academy that they currently look ridiculous.

    • Bella Bella says:

      I’ve commented a couple of times on this site about Leave No Trace. It’s such a good movie. Ben Foster should have been nominated for Best Actor. And Debra Granik should have been nominated for Best Director. She continues to turn out incredibly strong, complicated movies that you think about for days afterwards about people and stories we rarely if ever see on film. And she elicits astonishingly strong work from her actors. In Leave No Trace, Thomasin McKenzie, the actress who plays the daughter, is incredible. It’s as career-making as Winter’s Bone was for Jennifer Lawrence.

  2. Muffy says:

    Mmmm. Chris Pine. The best Chris.

  3. Veronica says:

    It starts all the way back at the beginning of production, too. Women are passed over for men in the hiring process, which limits their numbers at the start, and then the tunnel gets narrower and narrower down the path as you go higher up the hierarchy. It’s going to take a long time to break that system down.

  4. FF says:

    I also think that there’s a perpetuated prejudice towards women directors – hell women behind the scenes in the industry in general.

    Consider how many white guys can get called “genius” for one miniseries of television and not much else and a woman can be running/writing/directing multiple shows, have the film receipts and still somehow they’re just not as good as the auteurs (a term exclusively used for white guys) out there.

    I’m pretty sure some of this prejudice has convinced some WoC that directing is some super mystical art that women just can’t grasp.

    It also annoys me because I’m pretty sure women would go about directing an entirely other way artistically and there’s so much female director stigma that they’re almost forced into copying what the guys do just to be considered ‘real’ directors.

    The entire industrial situation is as frustrating as it is intended to be self-perpetuating.

    I’m glad that Jenkins points out that the Academy is trying – but that it can’t help but fall short.

  5. lucy2 says:

    I didn’t realize she was involved with the TNT show, makes me want to see it even more.

    The problem is systemic and deep, and not just for gender. We have to all keep pushing for equality, and try to support movies directed by women.

  6. I know many academy voters and they skew OLD.( Just go to a screening at the academy and you can see this) I think one thing they desperately need to do is open the damn academy to younger voters and more women and POC. PERIOD. That will absolutely change the what is voted for.

  7. Fluffy Princess says:

    I’m just here for Chris Pine in that Grey Suit with the black checked shirt. Fabulous.

    I’m still torn between Chris Pine and Chris Evans as the best Chris. I think Chris Pratt shouldn’t even been in the Chris’s contest. He’s so…

  8. Steff says:

    Patty muthaf***ing Jenkins.

    That is all. That’s my comment.

  9. Call_Me_Al says:

    Did y’all see Chris Pine in Robert the Bruce on Netflix? He was so hot. SO HOT. Like medieval times you know he is smelly but still hot HOT.

  10. Pandy says:

    Stop paying attention to the Oscars. They signify nothing.

    • North of Boston says:

      The people behind the Oscars seem to be trying to make the Oscars less and less relevant each year.