In the vein of Emma Stone’s “these four men and Greta Gerwig” and Natalie Portman’s “and here are the all-male nominees,” Issa Rae had an honest reaction to the best director nominations for the 92nd Oscars.
While announcing the nominees on January 13 alongside John Cho, she chose four pointed words to summarize her feelings about the Best Director category. After reading the names of Martin Scorsese (The Irishman), Todd Phillips (Joker), Sam Mendes (1917), Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood) and Bong Joon Ho (Parasite), the writer/director remarked, “Congratulations to those men.”
It was a statement that addressed an issue at the heart of the Oscars conversation: a lack of female nominees in the best director category. Amongst those snubbed this year included Greta Gerwig (Little Women), Lulu Wang (The Farewell), Marielle Heller (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood), Melina Matsoukas (Queen & Slim), Lorene Scafaria (Hustlers), Alma Har’el (Honey Boy), and Olivia Wilde (Booksmart).
Gerwig did manage to a score a nomination in the Best Adapted Screenplay category, causing Rae to comment, “Greta done slipped in there.” If she’d been nominated for director, she would’ve become the first woman in the awards’ 90-year history to be nominated twice in the category. Her debut film Lady Bird led her to become only the fifth woman to ever be nominated for the prize, alongside Lina Wertmüller (Seven Beauties), Jane Campion (The Piano), Sofia Coppola (Lost in Translation) and Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker). Bigelow is the only woman to ever win Best Director at the Oscars.
Twitter echoed Rae’s sentiments, expressing disappointment with the Academy’s all-male directing lineup.
Others called out the Academy’s absence of meaningful diversity. Outside of nominations for Parasite and Cynthia Erivo (Harriet), this year’s crop of nominees continued the trend of #OscarsSoWhite from year’s past. Below, Twitter’s thoughts on the matter.