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Female directors broke records in 2019, but without nominations

Women represented at least 10.6% of directors of the top movies last year, but there is still a lot to do

Woman driving a production.

Woman driving a production. / Photo: Rawpixel

The Woman Post | Luisa Fernanda Báez Toro

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Leer en español: Directoras de cine rompieron récords en 2019

As read on the World Economic Forum, the number of women behind the camera on Hollywood movies in 2019 was historic, according to two studies released last week. 

WE Forum said a study by the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative at the University of Southern California found that 10.6% of women directed the top movies of last year, which doubled 2018's percentage and the highest percentage of female directors in the past decade. 

Another study by the Center for the study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University showed that women represented 20% of all directors, writers, producers, editors and cinematographers on the top 100 grossing films of 2019, up from 16% in 2018. 

These two studies come after several critics to the 2020 Golden Globe Awards, where no woman was included in the director nominees. 

According to The New York Times, some of the top films featuring female directors in 2019 included Captain Marvel, Frozen II, Hustlers, Abominable, Little Women, and Queen & Slim.

The studies showed that of 113 directors attached to the year’s top 100 films, 12 were women, compared with just five in 2018.

"This is the first time we have seen a shift in hiring practices for female directors in 13 years," said Annenberg study author, Stacy L. Smith.

"We won't know if 2019 was a single good year or the beginning of an upward trend until we see the numbers for 2020 and 2021" Martha Lauzen, the author of the study by the Center for the study of Women in Television and Film, added.

Also read: These are the winners of the Golden Globes

Also, according to WCVB, 20% of Netflix’s 2019 movies were directed by women. 

However, there is a lot that needs to be done yet.  "Men continue to outnumber women 4 to 1 in key behind-the-scenes roles. It's odd to talk about reaching historic highs when women remain so far from parity," Lauzen said in a statement.

According to the World Economic Forum, only one woman has ever won a best director Oscar: Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker in 2010, and only four women have been nominated for Hollywood's top awards since 2008, including the Oscars, Golden Globes, Directors Guild Awards, and Critics' Choice Awards.

Lauzen's study found that of a total of 273 directing nominations given out across the 4 top award shows, 94.9 percent was allocated to male directors and 5.1 percent allocated to female directors.

Also, as read on The New York Times, of the 1,300 films they examined between 2007 and 2019, less than 1 percent had a woman of color in the director’s chair.

“2020 will be an extraordinary year for female directors,” said Smith to variety. “That’s important because we’re seeing women being given opportunities to direct action movies and not just smaller, independent films… Progress will come when females are given the opportunity to carry movies behind the camera across genres and budget ranges.”

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