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Golden Globes 2021: A Triumph for Female Directors

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Volunteer Writer, Olivia Tarr, discusses the importance of the Golden Globes recent nominations

Despite feeling as though we are living in a parallel world when compared to this time last year, the Golden Globe nominations have given us a brief sense of normality and are as shocking and exciting as ever.

After Natalie Portman’s call out speech against the lack of female director nominees in 2018, it is incredibly refreshing to see not just one but three, young women taking their place in the running’s for Best Director in this year’s Golden Globe awards. Three out of the five nominations go to Emerald Fennell for “Promising Young Woman”, Regina King for “One Night in Miami” and Chloé Zhao for “Nomadland”. Competing against them is David Fincher for “Mank” and Aaron Sorkin for “The Trial of The Chicago 7”.

Considering these three women make up just a third of all female directors nominated for a Golden Globe since 1980 (compared to the 203 male nominees), it is not an understatement to say that this year’s award ceremony has already made history. Across the board, award shows haven’t done justice to the many women working behind the camera. With the Academy Awards having only nominated a mere five women for best director in the span of ninety-two years, with only one of which actually winning; highlighting this issue of inclusivity and diversity spans the entire film industry.

Whilst we celebrate the accomplishments of this years Golden Globe nominees, one must ask why these female-lead nominations are still such a revelation, even in this day and age. Despite a recent US study in 2019, (pre-COVID of course), detailing how 51% of filmgoers were women, female directors only accounted for 10.7% of the top 100 grossing films that year. Whilst this statistic is double that of the abysmally low percentage of the previous year, it is clear that there is still much more to be done in order to transform such a male dominated field.

It’s important to learn from the past, but not to dwell on it, as a brighter future is starting to emerge for women in film. Despite current levels of general optimism being something not so easily found in the chaotic climate of our current world, in film there are now multiple initiatives and major names in the industry gunning for real, effective change and more equality for women and people of colour. Actress and director Eva Longoria told the Guardian that she “always starts filling up slots with women and people of colour first, then if anything’s left, we will look elsewhere… So instead of unconsciously ignoring women and people of colour, I’m consciously hiring them.” Alongside this is the ‘4% Challenge’, founded by the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative and ‘Time’s Up’, which aims to increase the number of women directing major studio films. Supported by notable actors such as Tessa Thompson, Kerry Washington, Constance Wu and many more, the organisation hopes that such changes in the industry will lead to more overall inclusivity and many more women taking up roles behind the camera.

If you are not one for statistics and (quite frankly underwhelming) previously published percentages, then allow me to summarise what I believe to be the beginning of a major positive change in regard to women behind the scenes in film. Three female directors being nominated for a Golden Globe is a monumental contrast to previous years and marks what just may be the start of immeasurably more female-directed films in upcoming years. More recognition surrounding the hard working women behind the scenes in film will inevitably inspire more young girls to strive for such roles within the industry, creating role models and inspiration for future generations to come and overall a more inclusive and interesting field for all.


Edited by Sophie Alexander – Entertainment Editor

Header Image by Olivia Tarr.

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Label Entertainment Editor 2020-21

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