Ricky Gervais attempted to joke about the lack of women filmmakers nominated for the 2020 Golden Globe for Best Director, but his remarks have generated backlash on social media. Additionally, the joke apparently landed with a thud among those in attendance at the Golden Globes ceremony. This year’s Golden Globe nominees for Best Director were all male directors: Sam Mendes (“1917”), Bong Joon Ho (“Parasite”), Martin Scorsese (“The Irishman”), Quentin Tarantino (“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”), and Todd Phillips (“Joker”). Considering the strength of several female-directed films, from Greta Gerwig’s “Little Women” to Lulu Wang’s “The Farewell” (both Golden Globe nominated in other categories), the Globes’ all-male nominees in 2020 proved controversial on nominations morning.
“No female directors were nominated this year,” Gervais said during the middle of the telecast. “That’s bad. I’ve had a word with the HFPA and they have guaranteed this will never happen again. Working with all the major studios, [the HFPA has] agreed to go back to the way things were when they didn’t hire women directors. That will solve the problem. You’re welcome.”
Women and Hollywood’s Melissa Silverstein responded critically to Gervais’ joke, writing on social media, “The lack of women directors in the industry is no joke. The top 100 films of 2019 were helmed by a total of 113 directors, 89.4 percent of whom were male and 10.6 percent of whom were female.”
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Variety’s Ramin Setoodeh was in the room at the Golden Globes ceremony and tweeted, “No one laughed during that terrible joke about women directors from Ricky Gervais.”
Gervais’ women joke proved just as controversial as some of the jokes he made during the monologue. 2020 marked Gervais’ fifth and reportedly final time hosting the Golden Globes ceremony.
A joke about how no women directors being nominated at the #GoldenGlobes would be solved by Hollywood returning to a time when studios just didn’t even hire women to direct… pic.twitter.com/pQgLyDYaO9
— Women In Film Los Angeles (@WomenInFilm) January 6, 2020
The lack of women-directors in the industry is no joke.
“The top 100 films of 2019 were helmed by a total of 113 directors, 89.4 percent of whom were male and 10.6 percent of whom were female.” #GoldenGlobes https://t.co/oqysU0vwif pic.twitter.com/BlQtK4zSqB
— Melissa Silverstein (@melsil) January 6, 2020
How to solve the problem of no women directors being nominated, according to Ricky Gervais?
Let’s go back to how it was a few years ago when we didn’t hire any women at all. pic.twitter.com/c2l1B0gtuO
— CherryPicks (@TheCherryPicks) January 6, 2020
Honestly, Greta Gerwig should win an Oscar just for sitting through that Ricky Gervais joke about female directors. (And also for Little Women which is delightful, even better on rewatch, and I cannot wait to watch it for years go come.)
— Eliana Dockterman (@edockterman) January 6, 2020
No one laughed during that terrible joke about women directors from Ricky Gervais. #GoldenGlobes
— Ramin Setoodeh (@RaminSetoodeh) January 6, 2020
That Ricky Gervais joke about women directors KILLED!
Seriously, everyone in the room died because there is no other explanation for that much silence.
— Mark Harris (@MarkHarrisNYC) January 6, 2020