Hours after the Oscar nominations were read Tuesday morning, Vulture caught Patty Jenkins at the premiere of her new TNT noir series I Am the Night. A half-dozen women directed critically acclaimed movies that could’ve been serious awards-season contenders this year: Debra Granik had Leave No Trace, Chloé Zhao had The Rider, Tamara Jenkins had Private Life, Josie Rourke had Mary Queen of Scots, Karyn Kusama had Destroyer, and Lynne Ramsay had You Were Never Really Here. When the director nominations were announced, all we heard were a bunch of boys! Marielle Heller’s Can You Ever Forgive Me? scored noms for Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Adapted Screenplay, but Heller was shut out of the director category. What gives?
“I have no idea,” Jenkins said, “I’ll tell you this: The Academy is working on this, but the real issue to me is that at the end of the day, no matter what movie you make and no matter how much money it makes, and no matter how diverse the audience is, the voting academy is still very, very limited. Still,” she continued. “As hard as the Academy is working on it, the vast majority of voters, particularly for director, are people who have been successful as directors. So who is that? That’s where this pool [of nominees] is coming from. All of these votes are being made by the same people.” So how do more female filmmakers get into the directing branch? Perhaps the Academy could start by inviting all the women whose movies were ignored this year.