The Golden Globes and the BAFTAs have already dropped the ball this year when it comes to honoring women filmmakers with a Best Director nomination, and now all eyes are turning towards the Academy to see whether or not the Oscars will shut out women in the same category. With awards contenders such as “Mudbound,” “Lady Bird,” and “Wonder Woman” in the running, many are expecting at least one female director to land a nomination. Gerwig seems like the strongest bet at this point, having already won directing accolades from the National Board of Review and more this season.
One person expecting the Oscars to nominate women directors this year in none other than Steven Spielberg, who himself is a contender in the category for his work on “The Post.” The director was asked by Entertainment Tonight at the National Board of Review gala in New York City to comment on Natalie Portman’s dig at the Globes for shutting out women for Best Director, to which Spielberg said he isn’t expecting the Oscars to have a similar problem.
“There’s also a watershed happening right now, slowly, maybe not fast enough, for women directors,” Spielberg said. “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.”
Both the Globes and the BAFTAs have received widespread criticism for leaving out women in the Best Director category, especially Gerwig. BAFTA voters clearly loved “Lady Bird” enough to give Gerwig herself a screenplay nomination and stars Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalfe acting nominations, and yet the film was still left out of the Best Director race. After the Golden Globes, many people found it ridiculous that Gerwig could direct the year’s best comedic actress and best comedy film and still not end up with a nomination.
BAFTA Chair Jane Lush responded to the criticism by telling Variety, “Of course we want to see women in the best director category. It is a reflection of the industry to a certain extent and we should be doing something about it…It’s not about blaming people. It’s about what can we do to make it different.”
We’ll find out if Spielberg’s prediction comes true when the Oscar nominations are announced on Tuesday, January 23.