Ricky Gervais Sparks Backlash for Golden Globes Joke About Not Hiring Women Directors

No women directors were nominated for the 2020 Golden Globe for Best Director.
Ricky Gervais77th Annual Golden Globe Awards, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 05 Jan 2020
Ricky Gervais

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.”

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.

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