Academy Awards

’Congratulations to Those Men’: Issa Rae Shades the 2020 Oscars Following Female Directors Snub

Contenders for the coveted filmmaking honor included "Little Women" director Greta Gerwig, Kasi Lemmons for "Harriet", "The Farewell" director Lulu Wang and Marielle Heller for "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood."

This sounds familiar.

On Monday, Issa Rae and John Cho announced the nominees for the 2020 Oscars, which noticeably left out female directors. Making the Achievements in Directing shortlist for the 92nd Academy Awards were Quentin Tarantino for "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood", "The Irishman" director Martin Scorsese, "1917" director Sam Mendes, Bong Joon-ho for "Parasite" and Todd Phillips for "Joker."

Contenders for the coveted filmmaking honor included "Little Women" director Greta Gerwig, Kasi Lemmons for "Harriet", "The Farewell" director Lulu Wang and Marielle Heller for "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood."

The apparent snub was addressed by Rae during the Oscar nominations livestream. After reading the list of nominees, she said, "Congratulations to those men."

Female directors were also left out of the last year's Best Director nominees. In fact, The Academy Awards haven't had a female director win the big award since 2010 when Kathryn Bigelow took home Best Director for The Hurt Locker.

2020 Oscars: First-Time Nominees

But, that's not to say that these female filmmakers' work wasn't recognized in other categories. Gerwig's Little Women earned nominations for Costume Design and Adapted Screenplay and stars Saoirse Ronan and Florence Pugh picked up a Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress nomination, respectively.

Cynthia Erivo, who portrayed Harriet Tubman in Harriet also earned a Best Actress nomination and her original song "Stand Up" is up for Best Original Song. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood's Tom Hanks got a Best Supporting Actor nomination for his portrayal as Fred Rogers.

Lack of diversity in the Best Directors category, as well in the other major categories, has been a topic of discussion this awards season. For the Golden Globes, female filmmakers were left out of the Best Director - Motion Picture category, with the nominations going to the same group of directors. And, like the Oscars, their films were up for several of the night's top honors.

The 2020 Critics' Choice Awards, however, recognized Gerwig for Little Women, which many were hoping would be mirrored by The Academy.

Following the backlash at the 2020 Golden Globes, many stars voiced their outrage at the female directors snub, including Charlize Theron. Speaking with The Los Angeles Times, she said, "It's tough. It's really, really tough. And I think it gets really frustrating when we have to remember that women directors, especially, are just trying to get their numbers up. They represent 10% of our directors in the industry, and when you have a good year like we had this year with such great work, it is incredibly frustrating."

Ronan shared a sentiment that "Little Women" co-star Laura Dern shared shortly after the upsetting news during her visit to TODAY. She stated, "[Greta] has made one of the best movies of the year and I think, you know, Laura made a really good point yesterday and that, in a way, it's sort of vital for something like this to happen because it reminds us of how far, obviously, we need to go."

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