Where are the women directors?

This was my first question when The Hollywood Reporter’s annual Director Roundtable appeared on my Devour feed this week. Women directors in Hollywood exist, do they not? Many worked brilliantly last year, didn’t they? Their absence, probably because I am a woman, was glaring from just the screenshot – six men. Six men this industry periodical deems “the directors behind the year’s most acclaimed films.” The directors at this roundtable are as follows:

  • Quentin Tarantino (The Hateful 8)

    Where Are The Women Directors? | #featurefriday looks at the problematic Director Roundtable from The Hollywood Reporter | onecriticalbitch.com
    Press photo from The Hollywood Reporter
  • David O’Russell (Joy)
  • Danny Boyle (Steve Jobs)
  • Tom Hooper (The Danish Girl)
  • Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu (The Revenant)
  • Ridley Scott (The Martian)

Then there’s my second question. Besides Iñarritu (hailing from Mexico),

Where are the directors of color?

For all intents and purposes, this is an EXTREMELY white, middle-aged, male cross-section of an entire industry, a whole art-form. I was offended. I reacted poorly. I hadn’t even watched the thing yet (it’s an hour-long – brace yourselves).

All things considered, I have a lot of thoughts. And I’m not the only one having those feelings (see this to the point post on Flavorwire by Jason Bailey). But before I write a full post examining those “complicated” feelings myself, I thought, this is a great opportunity for #FeatureFriday, isn’t it?

Let’s deal with this together.

I’ll post, we’ll all watch this little shindig (or those of you willing to devote an hour of your lives – I don’t blame you if you skim), and perhaps I can get some feedback about what this means to you, lovely readers. I’ll be cultivating my own notes for a post next week – but I’d love to get a good discussion going down in the comments.

What do you think?

Are these directors, these films, a true representation of what the cinema of 2015 had to offer? Who, if anyone, is missing? Am I right to want a woman represented? Am I the only one who thinks the omission of Spike Lee (Chi-raq) and Ryan Coogler (Creed) is bizarre? And frankly, does Tarantino, or even Boyle, deserve to be on this panel with two films that critically have NOT been particularly well received?

So many questions, so many potential answers. Let’s discuss.

The Usual Feature Friday PSA:

Give this thing a watch, give it some thought, and if you’ve got the time, give us your reflections, opinions, criticisms (delivered with care and a measure of professionalism, please), and jokes (always jokes) in the comments. Sound good? Good.

Ready to rock and roll:

The Hollywood Reporter’s Director Roundtable

Find the source and all other THR Roundtables here.

  • Dhruv joshi

    Are you kidding me? Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu is a “white middle age” man? Selection should be solely on the basis of merit and not gender/race. What happened this year , was the selection of Mira Nair , despite her making just above-average Queen of Katwe, which is not fair. About the films that were made by Tarantino and Boyle, Hateful Eight was a delightful watch although reactions to it might be polarizing ( which by the way should not be a surprise considering that it is a Tarantino movie ) . I do admit that selection of Boyle was rather baffling.

    • Hi Dhruv, thanks for reading. Of course Inarritu isn’t a “white middle age” man. However, the make up of this panel was extremely skewed in that direction. Women were not included. There were several films (last year and this year) directed by women that were absolutely of merit to be be nominated for an Oscar and were again, passed over. This post was simply a call to action to see more women recognized and included in this important sphere of the industry. If you’re interested, my “Women to Watch” posts for the rest of 2016 served to list every film by women as they were released each month, in the hopes of getting people watching. Perhaps you’d check some of them out. Best, Alex.

      • Dhruv joshi

        Partially true. Women like Katherine Bigelow and Mira Nair were nominated and also won oscar when they made deservingly outstanding films, Most of the movies in your “women to watch” sections are good, some even excellent, but in the end , I think it all boils down to competition and not gender bias.

        • I’ll respectfully disagree on that. But thanks for the discussion.

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