Steven Spielberg has an optimistic prediction about this year’s Academy Awards: Female directors will get the recognition they deserve.
“There’s also a watershed happening right now, slowly, maybe not fast enough, for women directors,” Spielberg told Entertainment Tonight. “I mean you have Patty Jenkins [Wonder Woman]. We have some amazing women that have come forward, you know Mudbound and Lady Bird. This is a pretty incredible year, and I think you’ll be seeing some nominations. I’m predicting at the Oscars this year for a woman director, if not several.”
The 71-year-old filmmaker was responding to a question about Natalie Portman’s jab at the 2018 Golden Globes. While presenting in the Best Director category, Portman pointed out that this year’s batch of nominees were exclusively men.
Jenkins applauded Portman’s comment, which she found to be both honest and amusing.
“What could you say? It made me laugh, and it made me smile,” the Wonder Woman director told ET. “Look, it’s been a little glaring that women directors don’t get nominated so often and it is odd. Particularly when their films are being celebrated in every other way, so I thought it was interesting to highlight it. And what a difficult category to present without saying something about it, so she did it so perfectly.”
The fact that not a single female director was recognized in the category underscored Hollywood’s longstanding problem with representation. It’s an issue that has received more and more attention in recent months following countless sexual misconduct claims made by women working in the industry. Many Hollywood figures, such as producer/writer/director Judd Apatow, have offered suggestions to fix the industry’s deep-seated problem with sexual harassment; one of the suggested solutions being to place more women in positions of power, such as executive or directing roles.
Since the Golden Globes’ inception in the 1940s, only seven women have been nominated for best director and only one woman has won (Barbra Streisand for 1984’s Yentl). The Academy Awards’ record isn’t any better. Out of the four female directors who have ever been nominated for an Oscar, Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker) is the only one who took home the Best Director trophy.
Clearly, Hollywood still has a long way to go.
The 2018 Academy Awards nominations will be announced on Jan. 23.