Everyone remember Natalie Portman’s pointed critique of the Golden Globes’ all-male nominees for best director? We thought so. That’s why it was particularly great news when Greta Gerwig became the fifth woman nominated for the Oscar’s Best Director category on January 23rd.
Gerwig wrote and directed Lady Bird, a coming-of-age tale about a teen girl in Sacramento, California starring Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf as a mother-daughter duo. The film received a 99% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and has gone on to win several major awards throughout the current awards season.
In the Academy Award’s 90 year history only four other women have been nominated for Best Director, including Sofia Coppola for Lost in Translation and Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker. Bigelow is the only woman to actually have won the award.
Earlier this month, CNN reported that a study from San Diego State’s Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film found that the number of female directors is declining. Only 7% of the top-grossing films this year were directed by women, which is down from 9% in 2015.
Another study from Directors U.K. explores the cause, explaining that much of the entertainment industry is based on freelancing and hiring is done on a project-by-project basis. There’s no HR personnel to monitor hiring, meaning it’s incredibly easy for patterns of tradition — and discrimination — to continue.
However, Lady Bird earned $375,612 at its box office debut — an impressive amount for an indie film. The payoff is big when women are allowed to lead in Hollywood, so here’s hoping Gerwig takes home the prize at the 2018 Oscars, so that the example can be set.