The 2021 Golden Globe nominations presented a historic moment for women directors everywhere. In a category that has only nominated 5 women in its 77-year history, three received nominations this year. Chloe Zhao, Regina King, and Emerald Fennell are all up for the Best Director accolade, alongside David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin. With Barbra Streisand being the only woman to have won, these nominations are raising a lot of hope.
While the Academy is yet to nominate an Asian American woman director, Chloe Zhao is the first to be nominated in Golden Globes’ history. Nominated for “Nomadland”, she has enjoyed quite the success for it already. Nomadland is the first film ever to win the top prize in both Toronto International and Venice Film Festivals. It received four Golden Globe nominations.
Fellow nominee, Regina King is no stranger to stacking up trophies either. King’s “One Night in Miami”, her feature directorial debut, earned three nominations. The film premiered at the Venice Film Festival, a first for an African American woman director, and received an outpour of appreciation. While she already boasts quite the impressive list of wins, people hope she will bag this one too. Many have however drawn attention to its absence from the screenplay category.
Emerald Fennell’s “Promising Young Woman” has also enjoyed stellar success and has received four Golden Globe nominations. It is also her feature directorial debut.
How celebratory is this moment?
The question here would be, is it too little and too late? One has to admit that news of this kind is always a little sad. Precisely because these moments are “historic” even now and far from regular. Women directors are yet to occupy their rightful place in cinema.
The nominations this year are undeniably a result of the severe backlash that the industry has met with recently. A lack of recognition of racially diverse films led to #OscarsSoWhite, just as the same for female-centric narratives led to outrage last year. In 2020, women directed a record number of movies. The last year has thus seen many a historic moment for women directors. However, as far as Golden Globe nominations go, Michaela Cole’s “I May Destroy You” was tragically snubbed. Additionally, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” undeniably deserved more recognition. Regardless, many are hopeful as it is a definite improvement on last year. It’s safe to say that even though the industry has a long way to go, we might just be on the right path.