My screen saver is a picture of Kathryn Bigelow holding her two Oscars. Each day when my computer boots up that is the first image I see. I never expected a woman to win best director and best picture last year (though I was hopeful), and I sure don’t expect it this year (because I am a realist), but it is an image that I hold onto because it shows what it possible.
Last year the DGA nominated Kathryn Bigelow for their annual prize — and she won for the first time EVER.
This year NO women nominees. Back to reality. Back to women being left out.
I don’t think that I am going to far to say that two women — Debra Granik and Lisa Cholodenko — were contenders. Both their films are in the top ten of the year on many people’s lists, and both might get best picture nominations, but the reality is, that this year we most probably will not see a woman nominated for best director again.
This brings us back to the conversation about what types of films women direct (some and not all women) and how seriously or not these films are taken by Hollywood. Remember, a lot of the conversation about Kathryn Bigelow last year was about how she was different from most female directors because she typically directs movies about guys where things blow up. That’s why she was really the ideal female to break the glass ceiling. A woman who make guys comfortable.
But look at the brilliant movies by Cholodenko and Granik. Not a lot of things in those pictures to make guys comfortable. A lesbian comedy about a family in crisis, and a rural poor girl looking for her meth dealing dad to turn him over to the police so that she can keep a roof over her two younger siblings heads. No worlds colliding in your dreams like Inception or the founding of Facebook, or a ballet dancer going crazy and spouting black wings. You know what I mean.
Even though both women (and the many others who made great films last year) didn’t make the cut at the DGA, and probably also won’t make the cut at the Oscars, these movies have made a difference. First, they were both financially successful. Second, they made people take notice. And third, the stories resonated and each potentially is looking at a writing nomination.
So while it is bitter pill to swallow after last year and this time no woman will probably get to the finish line as a director, looking at the big picture, and the fact that both these women’s films are in the year end hunt in a big way means that we still are having some forward motion.