BAFTA Nominations 2019: Where are the Female Directors?
The BAFTA Nominations of 2019 can indeed be considered a celebration of successful women in the film industry. The brilliant comedy drama The Favourite has received 12 nominations and includes a female-driven cast with the actresses Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone. The plot is equally female-centric and represents female relationships as well as the challenges women have to face in order to fight for their livelihoods in a man’s world.
The Yorgos Lanthimos-directed film absolutely deserves the nominations which include Best Actress for Colman, Best Supporting Actresses for Weisz and Stone, and Best Film and Director.BAFTA’s Best Actress list comprises some more amazing artists who portrayed strong female characters such as Glenn Close, Viola Davis, Lady Gaga and Melissa McCarthy. However, it is disappointing to recognise that there are no women included in the Best Director’s list for the sixth year running.
Many have stated that the female directors are simply being overlooked. But it is not the talent that is being ignored. The number of female directors has become a considerably small digit to select nominations from. Reportedly, the percentage of women involved in the top grossing films have dropped from 11% in 2017 to 8% in 2018, according to the Centre For The Study Of Women In Television. BAFTA chair Dame Pippa Harris stated: “If you look at the number of films entered for BAFTA I think only 10% of them were directed by women, 90% are directed by men, so that is out of kilter, but we've been working really hard to bring on the next generation.”
Film critic Larushka Ivan-Zadeh has also elaborated on the decrease in numbers: “It’s difficult when there are still so few female directors there. I know no female director wants to feel they've been given a nomination for the sake of tokenism. The talent is definitely there, just the numbers aren't there, and I think there is such a thing as unconscious bias.” “If you look at our industry as a whole there are still too few women in positions of power,” Dame Pippa added. “If you look at the balance there, it's tipped too far I think the other way. Until we get women who are heads of department, who are commissioners making decisions, then I think we'll carry on having these issues.”
When looking at the nomination’s list, one does feel disappointed; society has a lot of improvement to do in terms of diversity. By using our voices and platforms we can achieve gender-equality and more recognition. However, we can also reflect on ourselves and empower one another to take on challenges and work ourselves up to the top in order to increase those numbers. It is proven that we have the talent, as quoted above, so we must make use of it and do anything and everything it takes to achieve our goals. There are indeed some positive improvements to be found within the television industry. Female - led content is being commissioned and extremely well-received by audiences. These films have proven to movie companies that they can indeed smash the box office.
Society is making steps forward, but slowly. However, it is our duty to ourselves and each other to begin with the strong and powerful woman in the mirror, who has so much potential, to make that change you want to see.
Photography by Emma Stone and Rachel Weiz – LA Times December 2018, The Favorite - Ephrata Review and Pippa Harris - Skynews