The 2018 Oscars included more diversity than usual, but as far as the Best Director category is concerned — not so much. When Emma Stone was tasked to present the award, she did not hold back. Emma Stone's Best Director comment slammed the Oscars, and we are so here for it.
This year at the Oscars, the nominees for Best Director included Guillermo del Toro for The Shape of Water, Paul Thomas Anderson for Phantom Thread, Christopher Nolan for Dunkirk, Jordan Peele for Get Out, and finally Greta Gerwig for Lady Bird. Notice a pattern here? Yeah, everyone did.
Emma Stone took to the Oscars stage to present the category and said, "These four men and Greta Gerwig created their own masterpiece this year," throwing major shade at the lack of women featured in the Best Director category. The crowd cheered immediately, naturally.
Stone was not the first person to point out the lack of recognition for female directors at award shows. During the 2018 Golden Globes, Natalie Portman presented the nominees for Best Director, and made a point to say, "And here are the all male nominees."
Let me put this in perspective for you. Throughout the 90 years of the Oscars, Gerwig is only the fifth woman to be nominated for Best Director, according to CNN. Before her there was Lina Wertmüller (Seven Beauties), Sofia Coppola ( Lost in Translation), Jane Campion (The Piano), and Katheryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker). Bigelow is the only one of those women to actually take home the Oscar.
In a report issued by the Women's Media Center (WMC) — an organization established by Jane Fonda, Gloria Steinem, and Robin Morgan that's dedicated to increasing "decision-making power" for females in the media — the amount of female Oscar nominees in categories other than acting made a slim increase from 20% to 23% this year, according to Variety. Aside from Gerwig only being the fifth woman to be nominated for Best Director, the report noted that Mudbound cinematographer Rachel Morrison was the first woman to ever be nominated in that category in the entire 90-year history of the Oscars.
President of the WMC, Julie Burton expressed her excitement over Morrison's nomination. She told Variety,
Rachel Morrison shattered the glass ceiling for women nominees in cinematography, and we applaud her historic achievement. We are also proud of the efforts of all women who continue to break barriers in the film industry, despite systemic cultural and institutional bias.
Burton pointed out that though women are making strides, there is a clear female presence lacking in the non-acting categories and reveals that women are probably also missing "behind-the-scenes" as well. Burton said,
The absence of women in critical behind-the-scenes roles — and the fact that men represent 77 percent of all nominees – means that women in the industry are missing opportunities for recognition and power.
I am happy that Portman and Stone made the comments that they did. It's important to make sure that the issues are put out there on the table for everyone to see. Diversity is definitely something that is missing from award shows, and it's important that whoever has the platform bangs everyone over the head with it. I think most women want to see more women getting recognition for categories like directing and cinematography. Personally, I don't think it's just a matter of getting noticed, it's also a matter of knowing that those jobs are available to women and they can flourish in them. Hopefully next year, no shade has to be thrown at the Oscars because everything will be perfect. Hey, a girl can dream.