“Wonder Woman” director Patty Jenkins is tired of Oscars voters shutting out women in the best director category. On March 11, the Academy Award winner got candid with Variety about how frustrating it is to see her talented peers passed over year after year.
“I give up, I give up,” she told the outlet. “I say that even with all of their push to have diversity. The numbers are just hugely imbalanced of who votes for these things. I sort of just stopped paying attention to it. It’s still going to take a long ways to go. It’s going to take a lot more to really see truly more diverse awards. I really appreciate the efforts that they’re making but we have a long way to go.”
Only three women have ever won the Oscar for best director: Kathryn Bigelow for “The Hurt Locker” in 2009, Chloé Zhao for 2021’s “Nomadland,” and Jane Campion for 2022’s “The Power of the Dog.” Throughout the history of the Oscars, only seven women have been nominated in the category.
This year, voters nominated Martin McDonagh (“The Banshees of Inisherin”), Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”), Steven Spielberg (“The Fabelmans”), Todd Field (“Tár”) and Ruben Östlund (“Triangle of Sadness.”) Meanwhile, female directors like Gina Prince-Bythewood (“The Woman King”), Maria Schrader (“She Said”), Sarah Polley (“Women Talking”), and Chinonye Chukwu (“Till”) were all overlooked.
In fact, Prince-Bythewood’s critically acclaimed “The Woman King” was shut out entirely. In a February column for The Hollywood Reporter, the director called the Oscars shutting out her film an “eye-opener” when it came to the reality of how far the industry still needs to come in matters of inclusivity. “The Academy made a very loud statement, and for me to stay quiet is to accept that statement,” she wrote.
Prince-Bythewood continued, “‘The Woman King’ wasn’t snubbed. A snub is if it missed out on a category or two. The film was not nominated for one single craft. Not one single extraordinary performance was recognized. And when has that happened for a successful film that hit all the so-called markers? It’s not a snub. It’s a reflection of where the Academy stands and the consistent chasm between Black excellence and recognition.”
As “The Old Guard” director pointed out in her essay, not a single Black woman has ever been nominated in the best director category. While the Academy has taken a few steps forward when it comes to inclusivity, Jenkins and Prince-Bythewood’s comments show the Oscars still have a long way to go when it comes to honoring a wide range of creative voices and artists.