The Golden Globes has a seriously patchy track record when it comes to celebrating women behind the camera. That had started to change in recent years, but now it seems that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has gone back to its old ways by conveniently forgetting the existence of a bunch of talented female directors.
When it comes to celebrating the work of female film directors, the Golden Globes has a pretty poor track record.
Over the course of almost eight decades, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) – the small group of international entertainment journalists that cast their votes for the Globes – has nominated just nine women in the Best Director category.
Barbra Streisand became the first woman to win the award for her film Yentl in 1983, but for the best part of nearly 30 years, the HFPA then looked the other way when it came to recognising talented women behind the camera.
One especially egregious year was 2018, when voters had plenty of commercially successful, critically acclaimed female-directed films to applaud, from Patty Jenkins’s box office-busting Wonder Woman to the lower-key delights of Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird and Dee Rees’s historical epic Mudbound – and failed to acknowledge a single one.
Things looked like they were improving in recent years, though, after the Globes nominated a record-breaking three women in the category in 2021, with Chloé Zhao eventually going on to make history as the second female winner for her film Nomadland; the following year, Jane Campion and Maggie Gyllenhaal received nods, with the former eventually winning for The Power Of The Dog.
When it comes to progress, it seems that the Globes are taking a one-step forward, two-steps back approach, because the HFPA has once again failed to nominate a single woman in the Best Director category for the 2023 awards.
Instead, they’ve selected James Cameron (Avatar: The Way Of Water), Martin McDonagh (The Banshees Of Inisherin), Baz Luhrmann (Elvis), Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (Everything Everywhere All At Once) and Steven Spielberg (The Fabelmans).
All of them are deserving nominees, no doubt, but wouldn’t it have been great to see Sarah Polley recognised for her work on Women Talking? Or Gina Prince-Bythewood for the staggering The Woman King? Or Chinonye Chukwu for the civil rights story Till? Or Maria Schrader for the screen adaptation of She Said, which chronicles the New York Times investigation into Harvey Weinstein?
The Golden Globes has been blighted by scandal in recent years. In 2021, the show’s long-time broadcaster NBC announced that it would not air the ceremony in 2022 after revelations about the lack of diversity in the HFPA came to light, including the fact that it had no Black members at the time and concerns about the voting practices.
The HFPA has since taken steps to change the demographic of its voters, with Deadline reporting earlier this month that the group has “boosted the racial and ethnic diversity of [its] membership to over 51% by adding 21 US-based journalists who work for overseas outlets and more than 100 new international voters”.
It has also banned members from accepting gifts and started a hotline for members to report allegations of wrongdoing. After a year off air, when the awards were handed out at a low-key event, the show is now set to return to NBC in January, hosted by comedian Jerrod Carmichael.
Images: TriStar Pictures; Universal Pictures
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