The Golden Globe nominations came out today, and this year, the announcement was even more exciting than usual because HISTORY was made. Director Ava DuVernay became the first woman of color to be nominated for a Golden Globe in the category of best director of a feature film. DuVernay’s nominated for her work on Selma—the upcoming historical drama, out in January, that tells the story of the 1965 Selma-to-Montgomery voting rights marches led by Martin Luther King Jr..
In an interview with USA Today, DuVernay called the nomination “bittersweet.”
“I’m certainly not the first black woman deserving of this.,” she said. “You can’t tell me that since 1943 there’s not been another black woman who’s made something worthy of this kind of recognition. But for whatever reason it hasn’t happened. The time is now. I thank them for recognizing Selma. I just hope. . .that we get through all the “firsts,” that we can just get to the good stuff and that people can just make their work and move on from (that conversation).”
DuVernay—whose recent directing credits include an episode of Scandal—addressed issues of race and gender even on Selma’s set.
“With the crew, a lot of them had never been directed by a woman, and further than that a lot of them had never been directed by a black woman. And I was dealing with a lot of men, and we were in Atlanta, in the south. So I thought it was imperative to have a conversation so that we were clear whose job was what, and that mine was to be in charge. I needed them to know that I respected what they did and I intended for them to respect what I did and if at any point that broke down then they would no longer be there. In a very nice way!” she said in a totally compelling interview with Gayle King. “But the ladies know how we have to talk to the men sometimes. I’m part of a small but mighty tribe of women filmmakers. Not everyone’s had the experience of being directed by or led by a woman. And that’s just the industry that we’re in. So I thought it was important to have that conversation and I had no problems.”
DuVernay is only the fifth woman in the history of the awards to be nominated in the director’s category. Past nominees include Barbra Streisand for Yentl and The Prince of Tides, Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, Jane Campion for The Piano and Sofia Coppola for Lost in Translation. Out of these five woman, only one has ever won—our national treasure Barbra for Yentl. We’ll be rooting hard for DuVernay at the awards this year to bring the tally up to two, still not NEARLY enough, but better than one, FOR SURE.
For this year’s Best Screenplay category, again, only one woman was nominated, and that was Gillian Flynn for the book-to-film adaptation of her own novel Gone Girl.
Over on the television side (a medium that has traditionally been much friendlier to women behind the camera) the optics look MUCH better. In the category of Best TV Comedy Or Musical, four out of the five shows nominated (Girls, Jane The Virgin, Orange Is The New Black, and Transparent) were created by women, and on the drama side two out the five shows were created (or co-created by women).
Big congratulations to all the women blazing trails and making history this award season. We’re so proud of you and are crossing our fingers tightly that you go home with statues!