Fans of Greta Gerwig’s adaptation of Little Women are fuming after it missed out on an Oscar nomination for best director. The film was nominated six other categories including Best Picture but it’s the lack of acknowledgement in the Best Director category that has really caused a furor amongst audiences.
The five films that have been nominated in the category are each directed by men and those reacting to the nominations are certainly not happy about it. Leading the charge is actress Florence Pugh, who plays Amy March in Gerwig’s adaptation.
Pugh spoke out when Gerwig missed out on a nomination saying, “She made a film about women working and their relationship with money and their relationship with working in a man’s world. That’s literally what Little Women is about.”
Members of the cast have previously been vocal about the parallels between the film and women working in creative industries today. At the New York premiere of the film in December, Emma Watson, who plays Meg March in the film, commented on the ongoing dispute between Taylor Swift and Scooter Braun over her masters. She pointed out that the film deals with similar issues, saying, “I think people undervalue ownership. It’s about believing in yourself and knowing your worth and owning your own worth.”
And it seems that the Academy is similarly undervaluing the power that comes with recognition, particularly for women in the film industry.
The absence of women in the Best Director category was pointedly called out by Issa Rae who after announcing the nominations said, “Congratulations to those men.”
Film watchers are also taking to social media to criticise the lack of recognition for women. Many are ridiculing the long held sentiment in the industry that more women would be nominated if there were more women making films. In voicing their displeasure, audiences are pointing to directors like Lulu Wang, Olivia Wilde, Alma Har’el and Celine Sciamma who all directed popular films in 2019.
And they aren’t stopping there, with some joking that the ‘men-only rule’ in the Best Director category should be abolished. Others have taken a swipe at the Academy itself, suggesting that they hate women and accusing them of letting down audiences once again. Others have gone as far as saying that the nominations suggest that men’s stories are art and women’s stories are fluff.
That sentiment certainly seems to hit the nail on the head. For now, we'll do as Saorise Ronan does and repeat the mantra: “if you’ve been nominated for Best Picture, you’ve essentially been nominated for Best Director.” Oh, and keep the angry tweets going until Academy starts recognising women’s stories as art.
Zoe Victoria is a freelance writer. Follow her on Twitter @Zoe__V