Why Weren't Any Female Directors Nominated For an Oscar? Women Directors Snubbed

Women film industry professionals were left off many of the 2019 Academy Award-nominated categories this year, starting with the signature, highly coveted best director category.

Other categories in which women received short shrift as the Oscar nominees were announced Tuesday morning in Los Angeles: cinematography, editing and visual effects.

In the best picture category and animation, all nominated movies this year are male-directed.

Female directors were shut out despite the numerous women who directed acclaimed movies in the past year, including Chloé Zhao for The Rider, Lynne Ramsay for You Were Never Really Here, Tamara Jenkins for Private Life, Debra Granik for Leave No Trace, Marielle Heller Can You Ever Forgive Me? and Karyn Kusama for Destroyer, "to name a few," as Ashley Lee of the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.

Only two of the 20 nominated acting categories stem from a female-directed film, Marielle Heller's Can You Ever Forgive Me, as Melissa McCarthy is nominated for best actress and Richard E. Grant grabbed a best-supporting actor nod.

McCarthy celebrated with Grant, 61, a Swaziland-born British native won his first Oscar nomination Tuesday morning, according to Entertainment Weekly.

But perhaps McCarthy said it best when describing her character, a woman writer who turns to deceptive practices to make a living.

"She didn't want herself to be known; she wanted her work to be known," McCarthy said about real-life biographer Lee Israel, who profiled Katharine Hepburn, Tallulah Bankhead, Estee Lauder and journalist Dorothy Kilgallen in the 1970s and 1980s. The film details the consequences she and Grant's character, Jack, face in Can You Ever Forgive Me, based on true events.

On Twitter, Grant thanks Heller and McCarthy for his best-supporting actor nomination.

The all-men nominees for best director are Spike Lee for BlacKkKlansman, Adam McKay for Vice, Alfonso Cuarón for Roma, Yorgos Lanthimos for The Favourite and Pawel Pawlikowski for Cold War.

That means that Kathryn Bigelow remains the only female award-winner for best director in the history of the Oscars, as she won for The Hurt Locker in 2009.

Only five women have ever been nominated for the director honor throughout Academy Awards history: Lina Wertmüller for Seven Beauties in 1976, Jane Campion for The Piano in 1993, Sofia Coppola for Lost in Translation in 2003, Gerwig for Lady Bird in 2017 and, of course, Bigelow in 2009.

Deborah Davis, who co-wrote the screenplay for The Favourite, was nominated with colleague Tony McNamara in the best original screenplay category. Slim pickings, compared to the four female screenwriters nominated in 2018. In the adapted screenplay slot, Nicole Holofcener shares the spotlight with fellow nominee Jeff Whitty for Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Women professional also took hits in the cinematography, score, editing and visual effects slots.

The woman nominee in the best director of a foreign language film is Nadine Labaki for Capernaum from Lebanon.

Betsy West and Julie Cohen, RBG co-directors are nominated for that documentary. In the same category, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin co-directed Free Solo.

In documentary short subject, Rayka Zehtabchi directed Period. End of Sentence.

In animated short film, female directors Domee Shi oversaw Bao and Alison Snowden co-directed Animal Behaviour with David Fine.

In live action short film, Marianne Farley was nominated for directing Marguerite.

In the stereotypical-heavy costume, makeup and hairstyling categories, all nominees are women or include a female on its team.

Some good news: original song and production design nominees in their respective categories include four women apiece.

In each sound editing and sound mixing, women are involved in two of the nominated projects.

Granik, Jenkins and Ramsay have been nominated for the 2019 Independent Spirit Awards, which air February 23. The 91st Academy Awards ceremony is slated the next day, on February 24.

Am levitating at this astonishing news. Thank you to @TheAcademy for this nomination in such incredible company. I’m indebted to so many people but most of all @melissamccarthy & Marielle Heller @cyefm ❤️@SearchlightUK pic.twitter.com/CIdJSMLkj1

— Richard E. Grant (@RichardEGrant) January 22, 2019