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Quote of the Day: Lina Wertmuller Explains Why Female Filmmakers are Ignored During Awards Season

Quote of the Day: Lina Wertmuller Explains Why Female Filmmakers are Ignored During Awards Season

Lina Wertmuller

In 1977, Lina Wertmuller became the first woman to ever be nominated for Best Director at the Academy Awards. It’s been nearly two decades since the “Seven Beauties” helmer was recognized with a nomination, and since then, only three other women have been Best Director contenders at the ceremony: Jane Campion (“The Piano”), Sofia Coppola (“Lost in Translation”) and Kathryn Bigelow (“The Hurt Locker”). When this fact was pointed out to Wertmuller, she asked, “Is that true?” 

The Italian director is the subject of “Behind the White Glasses,” a documentary premiering at Venice that follows her life and prolific career of more than 30 films. 

Wertmuller was asked about the historical and current dearth of women directors up for Oscars and identified the source of the problem as “too many men on the judging committee, in the Academy Awards and all commissions in general.” 

Women accounted for only 25% of 2015’s 322 Academy invitees

Wertmuller added, “It’s about opportunity, but also it depends on the women, if they are good directors.” For women to prove themselves as “good directors” they must first be hired for jobs — to get the opportunities Wertmuller speaks of.

And while she’ll go down in history as Oscar’s first-ever female best-director nominee, Wertmuller said she “[doesn’t] believe in prizes much” and observed, “Prizes are like butterflies, colorful butterflies that fly away.”

Prizes may be superficial and fleeting, but they do lend gravitas to films they’re awarded to. We see the lack of female directors honored in awards season as a reflection of the fact that female filmmakers — and their works — aren’t taken as seriously or valued as highly as their male counterparts’. 

[via The Hollywood Reporter

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