Oscars 2021: the year of women

Seventy nominees in the total of the twenty-three categories. The second winner in the Best Direction category in the history of the awards. Their time has come

Tonight, US-based Chinese filmmaker Chloé Zhao has become the second woman in Oscar history to win the best director award. The previous one was Kathryn Bigelow in 2009 for ‘The Hurt Locker’, snatching the statuette, in addition, from James Cameron, who had been her ex-husband and who started as a favorite with’Avatar’. Two women in over 90 years of Oscar. Two women within one of the industries that most firmly tries to send a message committed to social change and which the #MeToo has revolutionized from head to toe. What’s more, also in this 93rd edition of the Academy Awards there has been the anomaly that two women compete at the same time in this category: Zhao for ‘Nomadland’ -which has also won the best film – and Emerald Fennell for ‘a promising young woman’. Fennell also directed the film pregnant with her first child. Outside the finalist quintet has remained Regina King, who with her debut film ‘one Night in Miami’ has managed to sneak into three categories but not in the direction, which can not be considered outstanding.

Among the unfairly ignored titles this year are’ first Cow ‘ by Kelly Reihardt, which although they have recognized it in awards such as the Spirit Awards, they have not found a mention in the most important awards of American cinema. Nor has Eliza Hittman sneaked in with ‘Nunca, casi nunca, a veces, siempre’, another of the independent films that have given more to talk about in recent months, which shows that, increasingly, female voices are emerging capable of raising difficult projects. The path that remains is not only to achieve a certain parity, but also for the directors to make the leap from the low budget to the big blockbusters, which are really the big bets of the industry.

In these 93 years, only five women have received the nomination for Best Direction: Lina Wertmüller in 1976 for ‘Pasqualino Siete Bellezas’, Jane Campion in 1993 for ‘El piano’, Sofía Coppola in 2003 for ‘Lost In Translation’, Bigelow herself and Greta Gerwig in 2017 for ‘Lady Bird’. It has also been a year in which only two of the nominees represent the strongest part of the industry: David Fincher is one of the most prestigious exponents of mainstream Hollywood in the late 90s and Thomas Vinterberg, one of the fathers of the dogma movement and representative of European auteur cinema.

Emmerald has also won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. But, in this case, in this department there have been more than eighty nominees in the history of the Oscars. Among the winners, writers of the height of Marguerite Duras for ‘Hiroshima, Mon Amour’ in 1960 and legendary writers of the industry such as Nora Ephron, nominated on three occasions, and Virginia Kellogg, on two. Other categories, such as best photography, in which there has only been one woman nominated-Rachel Morrison in 2017 for ‘Mudbound’ -, show that there is still a very marked gender bias.

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