Snubbed!

oscaropeningEvery year when the Academy Award nominations are announced, I am usually surprised by one or two curious inclusions or unexpected omissions, aka snubs. I have faithfully followed the Oscar race since I was in grade school, and while I have been disappointed by the dullness of the awards show in recent years, I would never think of giving it up. Last week, the nominations were announced for this past year, and I confess I was more than surprised. I was downright irritated at the omission of Kathryn Bigelow in the Best Director category, which included David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook, Ang Lee for Life of Pi, Steven Spielberg for Lincoln, Michael Haneke for Amour, and Benh Zeitlin for Beasts of the Southern Wild.

Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty was nominated for Best Picture, and star Jessica Chastain was recognized in the Best Actress category. It was also nominated for Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen, Best Editing, and Best Sound Editing. While there have been occasions in the past in which the director of a Best Picture nominee was snubbed, it is surprising in Bigelow’s case because she was considered such a “shoo-in.”

BIGELOW DIRECTS JENNIFER EHLE IN 'ZERO DARK THIRTY.'

BIGELOW DIRECTS JENNIFER EHLE IN ‘ZERO DARK THIRTY.’

Some have speculated that the controversy in the press over the torture scenes hurt Bigelow’s chances for a nomination. Journalist Jane Mayer of the The New Yorker has argued that Zero Dark Thirty “endorses torture” while social critic Naomi Wolf of Britain’s The Guardian piled on the hyperbole by comparing Bigelow to Leni Riefenstahl, claiming that the director “will be remembered forever as torture’s handmaiden.” (I can’t wrap my mind around the word “handmaiden” in reference to a contemporary woman, let alone “torture’s handmaiden.”) The criticism spread to Washington where three senators, Dianne Feinstein (D-California), Carl Levin (D-Michigan) and John McCain (R-Arizona), formally complained that the film touts torture as the tactic that led to the capture of Osama Bin Laden. There are also rumors of a government investigation of Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal and the sources they uncovered for research to construct the narrative. However, I doubt if the ire of a few politicos affected Bigelow’s chances for a nomination. If Academy members really feared controversy, Zero Dark Thirty would not have received a Best Picture nomination.

BIGELOW DIRECTS 'THE HURT LOCKER.'

BIGELOW DIRECTS ‘THE HURT LOCKER.’

Bigelow’s snub reminded me that Hollywood remains a boys’ club. Two years ago, she made history when she became the first woman to win an Academy Award as Best Director of The Hurt Locker. But, her historical accomplishment was almost overshadowed by the spin that some members of the press put on the contest. During the race, the press pitted her against ex-husband James Cameron, who was nominated for Avatar. The coverage took on a battle of the sexes spin, perhaps provoked by Bigelow’s preference for directing violent genre films that are the domain of male directors. The coverage undermined her achievement—and Cameron’s, too, for that matter. But, it was Bigelow who was making history; I would have preferred her accomplishment be treated with more respect. During this awards season, unflattering depictions of Bigelow and producer-writer Mark Boal’s relationship in the Hollywood Reporter mixed with rumors of his forceful role on the set imply that she is not as responsible for the merits of Zero Dark Thirty as claimed. I doubt if any entertainment reporter plans to trot out Steven Spielberg’s relationship with producer Kathleen Kennedy for scrutiny; nor is anyone casting aspersions on the directing abilities of the other nominees, including neophyte Benh Zeitlin.  Why can’t Bigelow—a veteran director with 30 years of experience—simply be lauded for her work.

ALICE GUY BLACHE, A CONTEMPORARY WITH THE LUMIERE BROTHERS, WAS THE FIRST WOMAN DIRECTOR.

ALICE GUY BLACHE, A CONTEMPORARY WITH THE LUMIERE BROTHERS, WAS THE FIRST WOMAN DIRECTOR.

I would never say that sexism is exclusive to specific guilds, groups, or institutions in Hollywood; it’s more like it has been intrinsic in the industry ever since the studios and the ruthless men who ran them began to dominate American filmmaking around WWI. Before that, during the pioneering era when the industry had not yet taken shape, women  directed, wrote, produced, and starred in films with some regularity. After the industry’s systems and practices were standardized, and its exclusive guilds established, pioneering women such as Alice Guy Blache, Gene Gauntier, Grace Cunard, Ida May Park, Cleo Madison, Ruth Stonehouse, Elsie Jane Wilson, Ruth Ann Baldwin, Kathlyn Williams, and Lois Weber were shut out and forgotten. Even the respected and prolific Frances Marion lost much of her clout during the 1920s. With the coming of sound, the studios became more powerful and the industry even more set in its ways. Industry systems and practices eventually changed, but opportunities for women did not.

I have written previously about the lack of women behind the camera in Hollywood. It is nothing new and it is  not a complaint exclusive to me. During the 2002 Oscar season, an art-activist group known as the Guerrilla Girls paid for a billboard at the corner of Highland and Melrose featuring an anatomically correct Oscar. Chunky and pale, rather than sleek and golden, he stood in his familiar pose covering his crotch. The tagline read, “He’s white and male, just like the guys who win.” The late Nora Ephron once quipped about the problems she faced, “I always think every movie should begin with a logo that says, for example, ‘Warner Bros. did everything in its power to keep from making this movie.’”

Though films schools graduate almost as many women as men, women make up only 15% of directors, writers, producers, editors, and cinematographers working in Hollywood movies. This statistic was compiled from a study of the top 250 Hollywood films of 2007 by Martha M. Lauzen, Ph.D., of the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film. The situation does not seem to be improving. In 2004, there were 11 women nominated for Oscars who worked as directors or screenwriters on films nominated in the eight major award categories. In 2012, there were only four female nominees who worked as a writer or director on films nominated in these categories.

MARTHA COOLIDGE

MARTHA COOLIDGE

In her studies Lauzen has exposed certain myths regarding women directors that male executives claim as fact. An impression exists that films made by women do not earn as much as those made by men. According to Lauzen, “We have done statistical analysis on box office grosses, comparing films that had women behind the scenes with others. The notion that films made by women don’t earn as much just doesn’t hold up,” at least domestically. Director Martha Coolidge, a former president of the Directors Guild of America who works primarily in television now, offers another refrain that women hear whenever studios or backers turn down their pitches. According to Hollywood, girls and women are just not a lucrative market. Another assumption presumes males generally make the movie-going decisions for themselves and their girlfriends. Supposedly, young men seek out action and take along their dates who are content to watch what their boyfriends select. Sarah Jacobson, director of the indie film Mary Jane’s Not a Virgin Anymore, validated Coolidge’s observation. She recalled that a distributor at the Sundance film festival told her, “Girls don’t go to the movies without their boyfriends. It’s just not a viable market.”

LESLIE HARRIS DIRECTS 'JUST ANOTHER GIRL ON THE IRT.'

LESLIE HARRIS DIRECTS ‘JUST ANOTHER GIRL ON THE IRT.’

If established women filmmakers suffer because of the industry’s misconceptions and prejudices, it is not hard to predict that women of color battle additional issues. Leslie Harris’s Just Another Girl on the IRT was released in 1992 to critical acclaim, and it made a profit. The following year, she directed a piece on aviatrix Bessie Coleman for BET, then spent ten years trying to launch a second feature about an African-American rhythm-and-blues singer. She was told by studio execs and potential backers that a black woman [in a lead role] couldn’t carry a film.

I suspect that the situation is the most difficult for women directors like Bigelow who prefer to make Hollywood genre films. In an interview, Coolidge recalls that many times she has lobbied a studio or producer to do a film she was passionate about, only to have them balk because the material wasn’t a “chick flick.” She was set on directing a film about a mixed race man named Johnny Spain, a member of the San Quentin Six, whose problems with race resulted in a tragic life, but she was told that it was not appropriated for a white woman to make a film about a black man. Mira Nair, director of Monsoon Wedding, was excited to make a political thriller, but during her interview, it was obvious the studio execs were only humoring her. Needless to say, she did not get the assignment. Mary Harron expected her directorial career to accelerate after her violent shocker American Psycho pulled in a lot of money at the box office, but, instead, she waited patiently as peers like Darren Aronofsky fielded offer after offer.

MARY HARRON DIRECTS CHRISTIAN BALE IN 'AMERICAN PSYCHO.'

MARY HARRON DIRECTS CHRISTIAN BALE IN ‘AMERICAN PSYCHO.’

Some women in the industry, especially producers and studio execs, prefer not to speak out because they don’t want to be stigmatized for rattling the cage; others offer a variety of reasons for a situation that seems to be getting worse. Harron and Nancy Savoca, director of indie dramas  such as Dogfight among, made a similar observation when interviewed. They noticed younger and younger male executives working at the studios, and these execs grew up on male-dominated fantasy-driven films. Harron notes, “Male executives are looking for fantasy versions of their younger selves.” This applies to both the directors and the films they prefer to support.

As I watched Zero Dark Thirty, an excellently crafted film that is both provocative and entertaining, one scene stood out to me. When the CIA operative Maya, the main character responsible for ferreting out Bin Laden, attends a meeting to present her findings, she pulls out a chair to sit at the huge conference table. Her male superior then tells her to “go sit over there” in a chair by herself along the wall as the all-male group takes their seats at the big table to go over her work. A medium shot shows Maya alone, excluded from the inner circle. I couldn’t help but think that this was an apt metaphor for Bigelow and other women directors in contemporary Hollywood.

Goldberg, Michelle. “Where Are the Female Directors?” Film 07-08: Annual Editions. Dubuque: McGraw-Hill, 2007.

Masters, Kim. “The Unorthodox Relationship Between Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boals,” The Hollywood Reporter, December 19, 2012.

Mayer, Jane.  ”Zero Conscience in Zero Dark Thirty,” The New Yorker. December 14, 2012.

Turan, Kenneth. “Commentary: ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ and Bigelow Are Losers in This Political Game,” Los Angeles Times. January 10, 2013.

Wolf, Naomi. “A Letter to Kathryn Bigelow on Zero Dark Thirty’s Apology for Torture,” The Guardian. January 4, 2013.

40 Responses Snubbed!
Posted By robbushblog : January 14, 2013 2:14 pm

Points well taken.

Posted By robbushblog : January 14, 2013 2:14 pm

Points well taken.

Posted By Maryann : January 14, 2013 2:46 pm

And we thought politics was bad.

Posted By Maryann : January 14, 2013 2:46 pm

And we thought politics was bad.

Posted By Martha C : January 14, 2013 2:54 pm

Great post once again! Thanks Susan!

Posted By Martha C : January 14, 2013 2:54 pm

Great post once again! Thanks Susan!

Posted By michaelgloversmith : January 14, 2013 3:12 pm

Brilliant piece. I wish more people were talking about the gender politics of ZDT (as you do so beautifully in the last paragraph) but, sadly, the “torture talk” is overshadowing everything else about the movie in the media.

Posted By michaelgloversmith : January 14, 2013 3:12 pm

Brilliant piece. I wish more people were talking about the gender politics of ZDT (as you do so beautifully in the last paragraph) but, sadly, the “torture talk” is overshadowing everything else about the movie in the media.

Posted By Doug : January 14, 2013 4:18 pm

I feel a little bit snookered, Susan, as a post about Oscar snubs
turned out to be a screed about sexism in the Industry. Which is fine-I understand how unfair it is; the movie industry in our country is part of our society, which is still, even in 2014, sexist.
But I’d say that we have made progress in the last hundred years, and that talented artists and film makers with something to say are being judged by their art rather than their gender.
It would be condescending to say, “Some of my favorite film makers are women!” but I can’t recall ever deciding against a movie/book/art because it was made/created by a woman.
Globally, I think that the American film industry is more open to advancing women artists than many other countries film industries. In some Muslim countries women aren’t even allowed to SEE movies in a theater unless accompanied by a male family member. I’m thinking that American women seeking to make films have more options than those in Iran or Saudi Arabia.
Is this a fair comparison? I think so-our film industry mirrors our society, as happens in every country/society. We may be sexist/homophobic/racist/elitist/religionist…but we are all so mixed up in this melting pot of a country that it’s hard to tell WHAT we are! So we make and live by our assumptions.
Susan, I take it that the title of your post hasn’t much to do with “Oscar” snubs. That’s so clever that a man must hav…KIDDING!
I appreciate every film maker who, as I noted earlier, has something to say worth hearing. I don’t even have or want to agree with what they are saying-if art is done well, then it is art irregardless of my opinion.
Susan, has TCM ever highlighted the women pioneers in the industry that you mention in your post? I’m always interested in learning more about…well, everything.

Posted By Doug : January 14, 2013 4:18 pm

I feel a little bit snookered, Susan, as a post about Oscar snubs
turned out to be a screed about sexism in the Industry. Which is fine-I understand how unfair it is; the movie industry in our country is part of our society, which is still, even in 2014, sexist.
But I’d say that we have made progress in the last hundred years, and that talented artists and film makers with something to say are being judged by their art rather than their gender.
It would be condescending to say, “Some of my favorite film makers are women!” but I can’t recall ever deciding against a movie/book/art because it was made/created by a woman.
Globally, I think that the American film industry is more open to advancing women artists than many other countries film industries. In some Muslim countries women aren’t even allowed to SEE movies in a theater unless accompanied by a male family member. I’m thinking that American women seeking to make films have more options than those in Iran or Saudi Arabia.
Is this a fair comparison? I think so-our film industry mirrors our society, as happens in every country/society. We may be sexist/homophobic/racist/elitist/religionist…but we are all so mixed up in this melting pot of a country that it’s hard to tell WHAT we are! So we make and live by our assumptions.
Susan, I take it that the title of your post hasn’t much to do with “Oscar” snubs. That’s so clever that a man must hav…KIDDING!
I appreciate every film maker who, as I noted earlier, has something to say worth hearing. I don’t even have or want to agree with what they are saying-if art is done well, then it is art irregardless of my opinion.
Susan, has TCM ever highlighted the women pioneers in the industry that you mention in your post? I’m always interested in learning more about…well, everything.

Posted By Christine Hoard-Barre : January 14, 2013 4:20 pm

Thoughtful and well written article, Susan, and thanks for your insights. The Hollywood and film industry of the very early years was probably a more creative place for women (and men)to work. Sadly, now it seems to be a lot of retreads of fantasy comic book characters for adolescent boys with GCI providing character development.

Posted By Christine Hoard-Barre : January 14, 2013 4:20 pm

Thoughtful and well written article, Susan, and thanks for your insights. The Hollywood and film industry of the very early years was probably a more creative place for women (and men)to work. Sadly, now it seems to be a lot of retreads of fantasy comic book characters for adolescent boys with GCI providing character development.

Posted By Susan Doll : January 14, 2013 4:46 pm

Doug: Yes, TCM did host an evening of women pioneers a few years ago. I have a copy of the evening’s screenings. It included a rare documentary on Alice Guy Blache, some of her films, and then some films by Lois Weber, who made a terrific melodrama called WHERE ARE MY CHILDREN that talks about birth control.

Funny you should mention Iran. I use to work at Facets Multi-Media in Chicago, a film organization devoted to showcasing international cinema. We distributed many, many films from Iran, including those by women filmmakers who pushed the limits of that country’s censorship by making daring or clever films of gender politics. Censorship in that country often took the form of forbidding the film to be shown inside Iran rather than forbidding the filmmaker to make it. Of course, some women were punished for making certain films with prison or worse. But, it is surprising the films that have gotten made by women in the last 20 years in that country. ‘

In my opinion, based on my years of experience in distributing Iranian films, there are a higher percentage of films per year made by female directors in Iran than in Hollywood. In Hollywood (mid-2000′s figures), 4 to 6% of films per year are made by women. And, according to Martha Lauzen, the figures are not that much better in the American indie market. I don’t remember the figures exactly for the Iranian industry, but in the mid-2000s, Facets was visited by a representative group of Iranian filmmakers. There were 10 or 12 of them, and 5 were women. Both the men and women talked about being punished by Iranian censorship for various films they made, but they went back to work after their restrictions were lifted.

Posted By Susan Doll : January 14, 2013 4:46 pm

Doug: Yes, TCM did host an evening of women pioneers a few years ago. I have a copy of the evening’s screenings. It included a rare documentary on Alice Guy Blache, some of her films, and then some films by Lois Weber, who made a terrific melodrama called WHERE ARE MY CHILDREN that talks about birth control.

Funny you should mention Iran. I use to work at Facets Multi-Media in Chicago, a film organization devoted to showcasing international cinema. We distributed many, many films from Iran, including those by women filmmakers who pushed the limits of that country’s censorship by making daring or clever films of gender politics. Censorship in that country often took the form of forbidding the film to be shown inside Iran rather than forbidding the filmmaker to make it. Of course, some women were punished for making certain films with prison or worse. But, it is surprising the films that have gotten made by women in the last 20 years in that country. ‘

In my opinion, based on my years of experience in distributing Iranian films, there are a higher percentage of films per year made by female directors in Iran than in Hollywood. In Hollywood (mid-2000′s figures), 4 to 6% of films per year are made by women. And, according to Martha Lauzen, the figures are not that much better in the American indie market. I don’t remember the figures exactly for the Iranian industry, but in the mid-2000s, Facets was visited by a representative group of Iranian filmmakers. There were 10 or 12 of them, and 5 were women. Both the men and women talked about being punished by Iranian censorship for various films they made, but they went back to work after their restrictions were lifted.

Posted By chris : January 14, 2013 4:52 pm

While this is a pretty big snub, many consider the snubbing of Ben Affeck even more of a puzzlement.

Posted By chris : January 14, 2013 4:52 pm

While this is a pretty big snub, many consider the snubbing of Ben Affeck even more of a puzzlement.

Posted By Joel : January 14, 2013 5:17 pm

I completely agree with your overall point about the Hollywood Boys’ Club, Susan, but I don’t see the Bigelow snub as an example of it. She did, after all, win the honor just four years ago. The real snub is that, thus far, she is the only woman to do so.

Sexism runs rampant in the industry, but there are just so many more worthy complaints about it. Bigelow has one more Best Director Oscar than Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, Stanley Kubrick, Charlie Chaplin, Robert Altman, and Akira Kurosawa. I’m a fan of hers, but maybe it’s better company to be an Oscar snubee.

What do these trophies really mean, anyway? As far as what’s keeping women out of the director’s chair, it’s much more the marketing divisions of the studios (insuring male-supported genres dominate) than anything the Academy does.

Posted By Joel : January 14, 2013 5:17 pm

I completely agree with your overall point about the Hollywood Boys’ Club, Susan, but I don’t see the Bigelow snub as an example of it. She did, after all, win the honor just four years ago. The real snub is that, thus far, she is the only woman to do so.

Sexism runs rampant in the industry, but there are just so many more worthy complaints about it. Bigelow has one more Best Director Oscar than Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, Stanley Kubrick, Charlie Chaplin, Robert Altman, and Akira Kurosawa. I’m a fan of hers, but maybe it’s better company to be an Oscar snubee.

What do these trophies really mean, anyway? As far as what’s keeping women out of the director’s chair, it’s much more the marketing divisions of the studios (insuring male-supported genres dominate) than anything the Academy does.

Posted By Gene : January 14, 2013 5:58 pm

Excellent post. I have only seen two Bigelow films (ZDT and Strange Days), based on the latter I have been hesitant to see The Hurt Locker, Near Dark, or her other films. I found it to be very average at best. I’m one of those men who does not need a constant adrenaline rush from a film so I’m not compelled by a director I tend to see as very genre oriented. ZDT has changed that for me. I saw few films in 2012 but for me ZDT is the best of them. I was stunned by the film’s narrative. It certainly does not endorse torture nor does it imply that torture led to Bin Laden.

I would love to see more female film makers. I love Agnes Varda and Lina Wertmuller but tending towards art house I find myself prejudiced towards what a talent such as Nora Ephron offered. American Psycho did little for me as PI and Requiem For A Dream amazed me; thus I wonder if the problem there was gender as much as it was movie content (or perhaps gender plus film content – Liliana Cavani would not make it in Hollywood after having directed The Night Porter). I think Pasolini would have had a difficult time financing anything after Salo in spite of gender.

The problem in Hollywood, especially after Spielberg, is that everything has to be a blockbuster or it’s shelved and/or swept off into the corners. Like most of Corporate America testosterone permeates the atmosphere and men are raised in most cultures to compete and take no hostages. Big and fast cars cover for a myriad of insecurities as do box office receipts. Our culture is slowly changing and so (hopefully) so will Hollywood.

Posted By Gene : January 14, 2013 5:58 pm

Excellent post. I have only seen two Bigelow films (ZDT and Strange Days), based on the latter I have been hesitant to see The Hurt Locker, Near Dark, or her other films. I found it to be very average at best. I’m one of those men who does not need a constant adrenaline rush from a film so I’m not compelled by a director I tend to see as very genre oriented. ZDT has changed that for me. I saw few films in 2012 but for me ZDT is the best of them. I was stunned by the film’s narrative. It certainly does not endorse torture nor does it imply that torture led to Bin Laden.

I would love to see more female film makers. I love Agnes Varda and Lina Wertmuller but tending towards art house I find myself prejudiced towards what a talent such as Nora Ephron offered. American Psycho did little for me as PI and Requiem For A Dream amazed me; thus I wonder if the problem there was gender as much as it was movie content (or perhaps gender plus film content – Liliana Cavani would not make it in Hollywood after having directed The Night Porter). I think Pasolini would have had a difficult time financing anything after Salo in spite of gender.

The problem in Hollywood, especially after Spielberg, is that everything has to be a blockbuster or it’s shelved and/or swept off into the corners. Like most of Corporate America testosterone permeates the atmosphere and men are raised in most cultures to compete and take no hostages. Big and fast cars cover for a myriad of insecurities as do box office receipts. Our culture is slowly changing and so (hopefully) so will Hollywood.

Posted By Gene : January 14, 2013 10:35 pm

In addition, here is an interesting (and encouraging) news item from indiewire: http://blogs.indiewire.com/womenandhollywood/sundance-lineup-is-a-win-for-women-directors#

Posted By Gene : January 14, 2013 10:35 pm

In addition, here is an interesting (and encouraging) news item from indiewire: http://blogs.indiewire.com/womenandhollywood/sundance-lineup-is-a-win-for-women-directors#

Posted By jennifromrollamo : January 15, 2013 9:18 am

How many women are producers in H-Wood? I just saw a fun comedy, Pitch Perfect, this past weekend. My oldest son and daughter had seen it and urged me to rent it. It was hilarious and as the credits scrolled by, I noticed that actress Elizabeth Banks ( who had a small but funny part in the movie) was the producer. That sort of surprised me and got me to wondering about this after I read your post, Susan. As far as Bigelow being snubbed, a member of the Dept. of Defense- an under secretary, is reported to have shared information with Bigelow and her team to aid in their film’s making and that’s under investigation. The info he gave wasn’t info to share. He should be the one to lose his job, IMHO.

Posted By jennifromrollamo : January 15, 2013 9:18 am

How many women are producers in H-Wood? I just saw a fun comedy, Pitch Perfect, this past weekend. My oldest son and daughter had seen it and urged me to rent it. It was hilarious and as the credits scrolled by, I noticed that actress Elizabeth Banks ( who had a small but funny part in the movie) was the producer. That sort of surprised me and got me to wondering about this after I read your post, Susan. As far as Bigelow being snubbed, a member of the Dept. of Defense- an under secretary, is reported to have shared information with Bigelow and her team to aid in their film’s making and that’s under investigation. The info he gave wasn’t info to share. He should be the one to lose his job, IMHO.

Posted By Susan Doll : January 15, 2013 1:25 pm

Jenni: Producing is the one behind-the-scenes area where you are likely to find women. It began in the 1980s when women stars found the material offered to be weak and unchallenging (Goldie Hawn, Jane Fonda, Jodie Foster, for ex). There were more actresses producing projects regularly then than now, however.

Posted By Susan Doll : January 15, 2013 1:25 pm

Jenni: Producing is the one behind-the-scenes area where you are likely to find women. It began in the 1980s when women stars found the material offered to be weak and unchallenging (Goldie Hawn, Jane Fonda, Jodie Foster, for ex). There were more actresses producing projects regularly then than now, however.

Posted By Anthony : January 15, 2013 4:50 pm

I see the publishing industry as female-dominated and no one ever complains about that. They simply say that more women read books than men and it isn’t worth it to publish strictly male-oriented books. How is that different?

Posted By Anthony : January 15, 2013 4:50 pm

I see the publishing industry as female-dominated and no one ever complains about that. They simply say that more women read books than men and it isn’t worth it to publish strictly male-oriented books. How is that different?

Posted By kingrat : January 15, 2013 6:25 pm

I work in a profession where men and women do the same kind of work, make the same sacrifices for their families, etc. Many other professions are now this way. It’s very frustrating that at the same time the movies tell us that every movie has to be made by men for the young male audience and the publishing industry, as Anthony correctly says, is female-dominated and oriented toward a female audience.

Posted By kingrat : January 15, 2013 6:25 pm

I work in a profession where men and women do the same kind of work, make the same sacrifices for their families, etc. Many other professions are now this way. It’s very frustrating that at the same time the movies tell us that every movie has to be made by men for the young male audience and the publishing industry, as Anthony correctly says, is female-dominated and oriented toward a female audience.

Posted By DevlinCarnate : January 15, 2013 8:37 pm

the day we can get beyond this will be glorious indeed,but i noticed no mention of Ida Lupino?

Posted By DevlinCarnate : January 15, 2013 8:37 pm

the day we can get beyond this will be glorious indeed,but i noticed no mention of Ida Lupino?

Posted By Richard B : January 15, 2013 8:47 pm

When Sherry Lansing was head of Paramount Pictures, they released six of their ten biggest moneymakers, and 80% of their releases were profitable, a record unmatched by anyone in the industry (if Wikipedia is to be believed). So why aren’t more women moguls?

Posted By Richard B : January 15, 2013 8:47 pm

When Sherry Lansing was head of Paramount Pictures, they released six of their ten biggest moneymakers, and 80% of their releases were profitable, a record unmatched by anyone in the industry (if Wikipedia is to be believed). So why aren’t more women moguls?

Posted By Doug : January 15, 2013 11:56 pm

DevlinCarnate: “i noticed no mention of Ida Lupino?”
You’re right-she had quite a career directing.
Drew Barrymore. Kirsten Sheridan. Lynne Ramsay. Amy Heckerling. And that’s from just a cursory look at my shelves.
I don’t know if it’s a ‘boys club’ holding back women. “Director” isn’t as much a prestige assignment (unless you are VERY talented)
as it is the hardest work on a movie-everybody yells at you from producers to craft services. You can be called an idiot because an editor does a poor job, a high priced actor phones it in, or some reviewer has a fight with his significant other right before viewing your movie. If it opens the same week as a monster hit, forget it-better luck next time.
I’m suggesting that the reason there may not be so many women directors/power producers is that women are too smart to be suckered into becoming directors. The ones I mentioned have made some great movies-they truly have the calling, the talent and the willingness to put up with all of the crap it takes to direct films.

Posted By Doug : January 15, 2013 11:56 pm

DevlinCarnate: “i noticed no mention of Ida Lupino?”
You’re right-she had quite a career directing.
Drew Barrymore. Kirsten Sheridan. Lynne Ramsay. Amy Heckerling. And that’s from just a cursory look at my shelves.
I don’t know if it’s a ‘boys club’ holding back women. “Director” isn’t as much a prestige assignment (unless you are VERY talented)
as it is the hardest work on a movie-everybody yells at you from producers to craft services. You can be called an idiot because an editor does a poor job, a high priced actor phones it in, or some reviewer has a fight with his significant other right before viewing your movie. If it opens the same week as a monster hit, forget it-better luck next time.
I’m suggesting that the reason there may not be so many women directors/power producers is that women are too smart to be suckered into becoming directors. The ones I mentioned have made some great movies-they truly have the calling, the talent and the willingness to put up with all of the crap it takes to direct films.

Posted By CitizenKing : January 16, 2013 2:00 pm

Relative to the advertised premise, I get a little annoyed at the very concept of an Oscar “snub”. It seems to me that nearly every year there is one or more movies nominated for Best Picture but not Best Director. If we expect the two categories to mirror one another, why are they separate categories at all? And of course now there is a near certainty of the occurance as Best Director is litited to 5 nominees while Best Picture may have as many as 10. Every snub is also an opportunity for the included director whose movie didn’t make the Best Picture cut.

But of course I completely agree with your larger arguement of the lingering obstacles to female directors. The historical sexism in film is unquestionable, and how many great stories were we deprived of as a result. Keep in mind that female novelists were the subject of severe limitations well into the 19th century. Women have wonderful stories to tell, of interest to men as much as to women.

The only good news is that while inequality of opportunity and lack of respect remains, today’s landscape is much better than in years past. We can continue to hope that the situation continues to improve.

I thoroughly enjoy Bigelow’s movies, not because they show action and drama from a “woman’s” perspective (as if there is only one such point of view) but because they show these subjects from her unique perspective.

Posted By CitizenKing : January 16, 2013 2:00 pm

Relative to the advertised premise, I get a little annoyed at the very concept of an Oscar “snub”. It seems to me that nearly every year there is one or more movies nominated for Best Picture but not Best Director. If we expect the two categories to mirror one another, why are they separate categories at all? And of course now there is a near certainty of the occurance as Best Director is litited to 5 nominees while Best Picture may have as many as 10. Every snub is also an opportunity for the included director whose movie didn’t make the Best Picture cut.

But of course I completely agree with your larger arguement of the lingering obstacles to female directors. The historical sexism in film is unquestionable, and how many great stories were we deprived of as a result. Keep in mind that female novelists were the subject of severe limitations well into the 19th century. Women have wonderful stories to tell, of interest to men as much as to women.

The only good news is that while inequality of opportunity and lack of respect remains, today’s landscape is much better than in years past. We can continue to hope that the situation continues to improve.

I thoroughly enjoy Bigelow’s movies, not because they show action and drama from a “woman’s” perspective (as if there is only one such point of view) but because they show these subjects from her unique perspective.

Posted By jbryant : January 16, 2013 5:11 pm

As you note, Susan, a true snub would’ve kept “Zero Dark Thirty” from getting other high profile nods such as Best Picture. I’d bet just about anything that Bigelow (and Affleck as well) missed making the Best Director cut by a very small percentage of votes. As CitizenKing says above, it’s actually not possible for all the directors of Best Picture nominees to make the Best Director cut. This doesn’t lessen the shock of those “snubs,” but it’s a numbers game, and somebody’s got to be left out.

Posted By jbryant : January 16, 2013 5:11 pm

As you note, Susan, a true snub would’ve kept “Zero Dark Thirty” from getting other high profile nods such as Best Picture. I’d bet just about anything that Bigelow (and Affleck as well) missed making the Best Director cut by a very small percentage of votes. As CitizenKing says above, it’s actually not possible for all the directors of Best Picture nominees to make the Best Director cut. This doesn’t lessen the shock of those “snubs,” but it’s a numbers game, and somebody’s got to be left out.

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