The Golden Globe Awards haven’t received as much flack as the Academy Awards when it comes to representation of people from various backgrounds, genders and races. Not too long back, in 2016, controversy erupted around the Oscars and how ‘white’ it is. The hashtag #OscarsSoWhite trended worldwide. People for the first time asked why there are almost no performers of color nominated for the top awards. Was it because of a lack of talent? Or was it institutionalised racism? This wasn’t just an allegation. Cheryl Boone Isaacs, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, even issued a statement on the lack of diversity in the Oscar nominations.
The Academy hired Chris Rock to host the 2016 Oscars, and Rock made his intention clear: he was there to tackle the issue of diversity head-on. He started off with calling the Oscars “White People’s Choice Awards”. The Golden Globes 2018, similarly, can be dubbed “White Men Choice Awards”.
Hollywood will remember 2017 as the year powerful and rich men were taken down by women from all walks of life.
Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Danny Masterson, Louis CK are just a few popular names that fell from grace after the revelations of 2017. In reality, over 42 men — all occupying important, dominant positions — had to bear the brunt of their inconsiderate, insensitive and downright disgusting actions. And now, with the awards season upon us, Hollywood is trying its best to make you forget any of it ever happened.
Guillermo del Toro (Shape of Water), Martin McDonagh (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk), Ridley Scott (All the Money in the World), and Steven Spielberg (The Post) have been nominated for a Golden Globe in the Best Director category. What’s common between all of them? They’re all white men.
There’s no reason to believe that these five directors aren’t deserving of a Golden Globe. They surely are. The movies the five nominated directors made are some of the most subtle, charming and beautifully unsettling movies made last year. But, an award show is more than just handing of awards; it’s a broad cultural representation of our society. In light of what’s been unfolding in Hollywood, to shun deserving female directors — especially when 2017 has seen some truly spectacular movies by women directors — is a step in the wrong direction. It’s an indication of the way the Hollywood Foreign Press intends to tackle the widespread issue of under representation of women, and they’re not painting an impressive picture.
Last year, three critically acclaimed and commercially successful movies — Lady Bird, Mudbound and Wonder Woman — were directed by women.
Lady Bird, a low-budget indie flick directed by Greta Gerwig, has been nominated for Best Comedy, Best Actress (Saoirse Ronan), Best Supporting Actress (Laurie Metcalf), and Best Screenplay, but not for Best Director.
Mudbound, a historical drama based on a novel of the same name, has scored nods for the Best Supporting Actress (Mary J Blige) and Best Original Song, but director Dee Rees wasn’t nominated. Same goes for Wonder Woman, a movie that saved the DC cinematic universe from the brink of collapse.
In May, Sophia Coppola became the second woman in the history of Cannes Film Festival to win Best Director for The Beguiled, but found no mention at the Golden Globes.
Only three women — Sofia Coppola (2003), Kathryn Bigelow (2009, 2012), and Ava Duvernay (2014) — have ever been nominated for a Golden Globe for the Best Director category. None of them have won. The Academy Awards has nominated only four women for Best Director in 90 years! Kathryn Bigelow is the only woman to have won the award for her 2009 film The Hurt Locker. Again, is this because of a lack of talent? Or is the Hollywood Foreign Press, just like the Academy, overlooking the contributions of women directors in Hollywood?
The Big Sick, a film about a comedian of Pakistani origin and his relationship with the mother of his white girlfriend, received zero nominations. Get Out, Jordan Peele’s directorial debut with an all-black cast, has been nominated in the Comedy category (what?!). This mishandling of nominations has formed the opinion that the best directors, screenwriters, actors are generally not women or people of color. Maintaining the status quo is mighty easy, and the Golden Globes have just demonstrated that.
At the 2016 Oscars, Chris Rock answered why there is outrage over #OscarsS0White now and not in the 1950s and 60s. Rock said, “we (black people) was too busy being raped and lynched… When your grandmother’s hanging from a tree, you don’t care about best documentary foreign short”. That’s precisely the point.