Oscars honor female artists, women of color still unrecognized

Headlines broke when Greta Gerwig was announced as one of the five nominees in the Best Director category for the Oscars. Gerwig, honored for her work in the highly acclaimed “Lady Bird,” is the fifth woman to ever be nominated in this category within the award show’s 90 year history.

Previous female nominees include Lina Wertmüller for “Seven Beauties,” Jane Campion for “The Piano,” Sofia Coppola for “Lost in Translation” and Kathryn Bigelow, who became the first woman to have received this award in 2010 for “The Hurt Locker.”

Although Bigelow’s win was a huge milestone for women, the demand for female recognition is still long overdue. When the Golden Globes failed to honor any female directors, headlines condemned the Hollywood Foreign Press for their lack of gender diversity. Actress Natalie Portman even pointed out that the nominees were “all male” during the live award show.

Many can agree that Gerwig’s nomination is a stepping stone for gender diversity in the film industry; however, this also begs the question, “Why have no women of color ever been nominated?

Now don’t get me wrong, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t happy for Gerwig’s nomination–because I am. As an aspiring filmmaker, Gerwig’s craft is one that is both admirable and inspirational.

But as an aspiring hispanic filmmaker, it disappoints me that no Latino nor Black women have ever received this prestigious honor. It would be nice to see some women of color recognized for their craft, as I think it would open a whole other door of inspiration, especially to those who identify as a minority.

In previous years, it has been brought up that films with minority cast members were unable to advertise their films the way that other Oscar nominated films were, therefore explaining the lack of recognition.

Others have argued that the reason there is no recognition for these women is because there is no content to be recognized, but i’m calling bullcrap on that. The content is there and one specific director who can prove so is Dee Rees.

Rees directed the Netflix film “Mudbound,” which earned honors for Best Supporting Actress, Adapted Screenplay, Original Song and Cinematography.  Many were shocked when the film not only missed out on a Best Picture nominee, but also a Best Director nod.

I’d be a hypocrite if I came in here and argued that Rees really deserved recognition, because I haven’t even seen “Mudbound.” However after reading numerous reviews and viewing the trailer, it makes sense to me why some people would develop arguments over her absence from the ballot.  

While I am satisfied with this year’s nominations–especially for my girl Greta– the Oscars have to take a stronger initiative in recognizing women of color.

We need to see a category full of nominees who are not just all male, or all white. We need to see a diverse group of nominees that represents different ethnicities and genders, and can relate to all aspiring minority filmmakers. I hope that the Academy takes this year’s nominees and continues to expand their diversity, it would be highly appreciated.