You can count on one hand the number of female directors who have been nominated for a Best Director Oscar in the award’s 90-year history. You can count on one finger the number of female directors who have won the Best Director prize. But despite their meager showing at awards ceremonies, female directors are thriving in the independent and film festival circuit, with films like Lynne Ramsay‘s lean thriller You Were Never Really Here winning the Cannes screenplay prize or Debra Granik‘s quietly devastating survival drama Leave No Trace earning raves at Sundance. Marielle Heller helmed the Telluride Film Festival darling Can You Ever Forgive Me, which earned a whopping three Oscar nominations for acting and screenplay.
But despite the inroads female filmmakers have made, the Best Director category found itself reverting back to the all-male status quo once again.
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At the beginning of 2018, Lady Bird director Greta Gerwig became only the fifth woman in history to be nominated for a Best Director award at the Oscars. “That’s one hand!” she enumerated to USA Today following her indoctrination into the sadly small mile-high club. It’s a club that unfortunately looks to remain small as most female directors remain out of the awards conversation and new reports emerge that female filmmakers saw their numbers shrink in 2018.
But before you write off 2018 as a bad year for women — or at least a step backwards after 2017’s industry-shattering breakthrough success with Gerwig, Patty Jenkins, and more — I implore you to take a closer look. Last year saw Anna Boden, along with Ryan Fleck, taking the helm for Marvel’s upcoming Captain Marvel, and the announcement of Cathy Yan directing Birds of Prey for DC and Warner Bros. And the slate of Sundance darlings were overwhelmingly female-fronted — from Sarah Colangelo‘s unnerving The Kindergarten Teacher, to Desiree Akhavan‘s ebullient The Miseducation of Cameron Post, to Jennifer Fox‘s harrowing abuse drama The Tale. Lynne Ramsay, Josephine Drecker, and Chloe Zhao achieved some of the highest critical acclaim of the year for their films You Were Never Really Here, Madeline’s Madeline, and The Rider, respectively. Hell, there were two movies about Ruth Bader Ginsburg directed by women in 2018.
The numbers may not be speaking, but the quality remains unquestionable. Female directors are slowly making inroads in Hollywood, and while they may not be breaking the Top 100 — or may get unjustly snubbed by the Oscars yet again — don’t believe anyone when they say there are no female directors. Here 18 movies directed by women in 2018 that you should watch.
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It’s been eight years since Debra Granik introduced most of the world to a talented up-and-coming actress named Jennifer Lawrence in her 2010 drama Winter’s Bone. Now the filmmaker is finally back with her next directorial effort. Leave No Trace is a survival drama that stars Ben Foster and newcomer Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie, and it looks like a worthy follow-up to Winter’s Bone. Read More »
It’s almost impossible to believe that it’s been eight years since filmmaker Debra Granik debuted her powerful, atmospheric, four-time-Oscar-nominated Winter’s Bone at the Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Grand Jury Prize and launched the career of Jennifer Lawrence into the stratosphere. While she did follow that up with her exceptional, long-in-the-works 2014 documentary Stray Dog, audiences have had to wait far too long for Granik to once again immerse us in a world that seems millions of miles away, when in fact she places us in long-ignored corners of America that are currently having light shone upon them for a variety of reasons. With her latest work, Leave No Trace, Granik moves from the depths of the Ozark Mountains to the forests of the Pacific Northwest.
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Posted on Tuesday, January 31st, 2017 by Jacob Hall
Yesterday, Ben Affleck stepped down from directing The Batman. One day, someone is going to write a book explaining exactly what was going on behind-the-scenes at Warner Bros. that led to this revolving door of filmmakers on all of their projects. We’ll surely know someday. But not today.
So today is a day of speculation. As Matt Reeves and Mat Ross emerge as apparent frontrunners, it’s time to do that thing where we make a list of people who should direct the next Batman movie. Some of these names are totally plausible. Some are wishful thinking. Others are here just because the thought of them directing a big-budget superhero movie makes me giggle uncontrollably. Most of all, this an excuse for us to just goof off and daydream while Warner Bros. figures everything out.
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Posted on Monday, February 22nd, 2016 by Angie Han
It’s no secret that filmmaking tends to be a boys’ club. Just today, USC released a study of 109 movies put out by major studios in 2014; just 3.4% of movie directors represented were female. But it’s a mistake to overlook or ignore the major contributions women have made to the medium, as evidenced by this elegant video essay of the best female-directed films of all time. The titles were pulled from a survey of 50 critics, and they all sorts of genres and topics across seven decades. Watch “The 20 Greatest Films by Women Directors” after the jump.
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There’s always a ton of news on the TV front but, instead of featuring it all, we occasionally pick out the good bits. After the jump read about:
- J.J. Abrams‘ new show, Revolution (above), directed by Jon Favreau has been picked up.
- James Cromwell will butt heads with Jessica Lange on American Horror Story Season 2.
- Showtime is developing a show called The Angry Buddhist.
- Star-making director Debra Granik will direct the HBO pilot American High Life.
- See what Lady Gaga will, partially, look like on The Simpsons.
- Chevy Chase still doesn’t think Community is funny.
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Winter’s Bone was a critic’s fave in 2010 that has enjoyed a good audience reaction as it wound its way through arthouses, VOD and Netflix. That film might have been a great, attention-getting piece of work, but director Debra Granik had a quiet 2011. She was writing a treatment for a Pippi Longstocking movie and making a documentary about US war veterans in the South, based on a guy who played a bit part in Winter’s Bone.
But back in February there was also minor word that Granik might write and direct an adaptation of the 1996 Russell Banks novel Rule of the Bone, which is about a 14-year old who ends up trying to find his father in the mountains of Jamaica. There hasn’t been much info on the project, but a recent interview with Banks sheds a bit of light on the film. Read More »
Cool Posts From Around the Web:
The LA Times has a great piece up that looks at a number of recent and upcoming films that offer tough, practical heroines that stand in stark contrast to a lot of the female characters that media offers up to young women. One of the highlighted films is Winter’s Bone. Mentioning the latter, the paper drops an interesting tidbit: director Debra Granik is working on a new treatment for Pippi Longstocking with her producing partner Anne Rosellini. Read More »
We missed posting this earlier this week, but I can’t totally pass up the chance to highlight the trailer for Winter’s Bone, the Grand Jury Prize winner at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.
I quite like the look of the photography here, which is mostly naturalistic, but with a tinge of something fantastic, like the edges are just starting to fray. Add moments with Garret Dillahunt, John Hawkes and Jennifer Lawrence, who has been getting the breakout performance accolades this year that were showered upon Carey Mulligan in 2009. Read More »