There were a lot of expectations for the 2020 Oscar nominations. After a year filled with a number of phenomenal films from female directors — from Little Women to The Farewell to Hustlers — many individuals were holding out hope that this new decade would kick off with some progressive news in the award circuit. Unfortunately, this year’s Oscar nominations proved to be primarily male-dominated once again, especially in the Best Director category. To some people, the Oscars may seem like just another reason for Hollywood to dress up and show off while winning golden trophies — which, in a way, they certainly are — but to new or independent filmmakers, winning an Oscar can provide a gateway to a long and fruitful career. Believe it or not, but awards season actually plays a big role in helping filmmakers, especially female filmmakers.
I truly believe that Olivia Wilde said it best during an interview with Indiewire. Although there’s no way to compare art, she explains that “within this industry, which is a business, awards open doors […] and they’re very connected to how people are compensated.” Even when it comes to bridging the wage gap between men and women, “if we’re striving for parity, the awards conversation is a part of that. Awards lead to bonuses, salary increases […] awards do affect opportunities and fairness for women. In a twisted way, they matter.” This is exactly why it’s important to continue having this conversation. The Oscars aren’t just about winning a golden statue, they’re the next move in Hollywood’s game of chess that gets us one step closer to checkmate.
Even though the Best Director category shut out some phenomenal female filmmakers this year, it doesn’t mean that they shut everyone out. There are plenty of incredible women working behind the camera who received nominations and deserve recognition as well. As we head into Oscars weekend, we want to celebrate all of the women working behind the camera who are nominated this year, so here’s your deep-dive introduction to this year’s behind-the-camera female nominees.