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DGA Criticized for Women Director Shut Out: Lenny Abrahamson, Julia Hart, and More Speak Out

One year after Greta Gerwig broke through with "Lady Bird," the Directors Guild of America is back to only honoring men.

Director Debra Granik and cinematographer Michael McDonough on the set of LEAVE NO TRACE, a Bleecker Street release.

Debra Granik on the set of “Leave No Trace”

Scott Green / Bleecker Street

Directors and film journalists are reacting in fury to the film nominations for the 2019 Directors Guild of America Awards. The DGA announced nominees earlier today for Feature Film and First-Time Feature Film, and all 10 contenders are men. Nominees for Feature Film are Bradley Cooper (“A Star Is Born”), Alfonso Cuarón (“Roma”), Peter Farrelly (“Green Book”), Spike Lee (“BlacKkKlansman”), and Adam McKay (“Vice”). The nominated directors for First-Time Feature Film are Cooper, Bo Burnham (“Eighth Grade”), Carlos Lopez Estrada (“Blindspotting”), Matthew Heineman (“A Private War”), and Boots Riley (“Sorry to Bother You”).

Filmmaker Lenny Abrahamson, who was snubbed by the DGA in 2016 but landed a Best Director Oscar nomination anyway for his drama “Room,” reacted to the nominations by telling his social media followers he was upset with the lack of recognition for two of the year’s most acclaimed women directors: Lynne Ramsay, who earned critical acclaim for “You Were Never Really Here,” and Debra Granik, who was named Best Director by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and whose drama “Leave No Trace” sports a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes from 207 reviews.

“We need more women and men and women of color in the DGA,” wrote Julia Hart, director of “Miss Stevens” and “Fast Color.” “Financiers and studios this starts with you.”

Director and film critic April Wolfe reacted to the DGA nominations by challenging its members. “Do me a favor and watch at least one movie directed by a woman this week, and then maybe come back here and tell me what it was, thanks,” she wrote on Twitter.

“It’s depressing to see no female nominees in either of the DGA’s two narrative feature categories,” wrote Variety film critic Guy Lodge. “You’d hope the Best First Feature category, in particular, would offer more balance.”

While women were shut out of the Feature Film and First-Time Feature Film races, three women were nominated in the DGA’s Best Documentary category: Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi (co-director, “Free Solo”) and “RBG” duo Betsy West and Julie Cohen. What’s so frustrating is the amount of women directors that should factor into the Oscar. Ramsay, Granik, Tamara Jenkins (“Private Life”), Marielle Heller (“Can You Ever Forgive Me?”), and Chloe Zhao (“The Rider”) all directed critically acclaimed films that regularly appeared on top ten lists.

While Abrahamson managed to secure an Oscar nomination without earning recognition from the DGA, to do so is rare during Oscar season. The five men nominated for Feature Film have become the frontrunners for Oscar noms later this month. The DGA all male nominees followed a similar shut out of women directors at the Golden Globes and the Critics’ Choice Awards.

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