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2015 BET Awards - Debra Lee Pre-Dinner

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On Monday morning, the Academy Awards nominations were announced and of course, there were quite a few snubs that people weren’t happy about. “Insecure” star Issa Rae made the announcements along with actor John Cho and even Issa couldn’t contain her disappointment over a certain category.

Rae and Cho started off by announcing the nominees for Best Supporting Actress which immediately sparked Twitter upheaval when Jennifer Lopez wasn’t nominated for her role in “Hustlers”. Meanwhile, Laura Dern, Margot Robbie, Florence Pugh, Scarlett Johansson and Kathy Bates all received nominations.

Rae and Cho continued with the more technical awards, including Best Costume Design and Best Production Design before they finally arrived at the Best Director category. It was pretty glaring that all the nominees were men. Martin Scorsese is nominated for “The Irishman”, Todd Phillips for “Joker”, Sam Mendes for “1917”, Quentin Tarantino for “Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood” and Bong Joon Ho for “Parasite”.

Although Issa was pretty humorous throughout all the announcements, the 35-year-old writer, director and actress couldn’t hide her annoyance at the all-male line-up of directors. “Congratulations to those men,” she said with a strong sense of attitude. You can check it out for yourself starting at the 14:55 mark below.

 

Issa has a right to be upset considering the Academy’s history of nominating women directors. It’s not great.

According to IndieWire, only one woman has ever won an Oscar for Best Director. Kathyrn Bigelow took home the gold in 2009 for her military thriller “The Hurt Locker”. No other woman was even nominated for the Best Director award until nearly ten years later when Greta Gerwig was nominated for her feature directorial debut “Lady Bird” in 2018. She ultimately lost to Guillermo del Toro, who directed the Best Picture winner that year “The Shape of Water”.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, only five women have ever been nominated for a Best Director award with the additional three being Lina Wertmüller for the 1975 movie “Seven Beauties”,  Jane Campion for the 1993 film “The Piano” and Sofia Coppola for the 2003 movie “Lost in Translation”.

This year, the Academy had the opportunity to nominate female talent, particularly with two acclaimed movies — the J.Lo starring “Hustlers”, which was directed by Lorene Scafaria and the Shia LaBeouf starring “Honey Boy”, which was directed by Alma Har’el. While both directors weren’t nominated for an Academy Award they were both nominated for Best Director for the Indie Spirit Awards, which takes place a day before the Oscars.

If we add Black women directors into the mix, the chances of getting nominated are even slimmer, despite having such talent as Ava DuVernay, Kasi Lemmons and Gina Prince-Bythewood. In 2019, Lemmons took on the director role for the biopic “Harriet”, which received one Best Actress Oscar nomination for Cynthia Erivo. Last year was also complete with other Black women director talent, including Melina Matsoukas for “Queen and Slim”, Chinonye Chukwu for “Clemency” and Mati Diop for “Atlantics”.

But it seems the Academy overlooked these films. As Issa said it “Congratulations to those men.”

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