The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has nominated “Little Women” for six Oscars, and yet Greta Gerwig was shut out of the Best Director race despite the Academy believing her movie has some of the best writing and acting of the year. “Little Women” picked up noms for Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actress for Saoirse Ronan, Best Supporting Actress for Florence Pugh, and more. This year’s Best Director nominees are all male: Quentin Tarantino (“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”), Martin Scorsese (“The Irishman”), Bong Joon Ho (“Parasite”), Sam Mendes (“1917”), and Todd Phillips (“Joker”). These are the same five men nominated by the Golden Globes and BAFTA Awards. Gerwig and other female directors such as Lulu Wang (“The Farewell”) have been shut out at every major ceremony, leading to widespread industry backlash.
In statements made to Deadline, “Little Women” acting nominees Saoirse Ronan and Florence Pugh both spoke out against Gerwig’s snub in the Best Director category. Ronan, who picked up her fourth career Oscar nomination despite only being 25 years old, said Greta’s omission left her “scratching [her] head a bit.” Ronan was last Oscar nominated for “Lady Bird,” which did land Gerwig in the Best Director race. Gerwig’s “Lady Bird” nomination made her just the fifth female filmmaker nominated for Best Director at the Oscars.
“I’m really happy that the Academy recognized [Gerwig] for Adapted Screenplay and Picture, and I feel like if you’ve been nominated for Best Picture, you have essentially been nominated for Best Director,” Ronan said. “But to me, Greta, since she started, has made two perfect films, and I hope when she makes her next perfect movie, she gets recognized for everything, because I think she’s one of the most important filmmakers of our time.”
Pugh, a first-time Oscar nominee thanks to “Little Women,” was more blunt, calling Gerwig’s snub “a big blow, especially because she created a film that is so her and so unique and it’s just come out of her, and it’s been a story she’s wanted to do for so long.”
“I think everybody’s angry and quite rightly so,” Pugh added. “I can’t believe it’s happened again, but I don’t really know how to solve it. I don’t know what the answer is, other than we’re talking about it. I think the most important thing is Greta made a film about women and their relationship with money, and their relationship with men in a man’s working world. And it’s just highlighting the point. It’s just completely underlining how important this film is, and how the themes are still apparent now. If we think about it like that, it’s a weird blessing in disguise and it’s only highlighting the importance of this story and the importance of men and women to go and watch it.”
“Little Women” is now playing in theaters nationwide. The Oscars are set to take place Sunday, February 9.