Each year nominations come out for the Golden Globes, there’s a common theme with the choices for Best Director of a Motion Picture. Looking back at the past five years, no woman were nominated for Best Director and representation of anyone other than a white cis man was not present. In fact, the last woman to win a Golden Globe for Best Director was Barbara Streisand in 1984 which was over 35 years ago.
Thankfully, the Best Director nominations for the Golden Globes this year are promising when it comes to diversifying the pool of directors usually considered. Not just one, but three women have been nominated for Best Director including Emerald Fennell, Regina King, and Chloé Zhao. Obviously, these women have proven their strengths just by being nominated, but each one of them has something beautiful and unique to say in their story.
Emerald Fennell’s film Promising Young Woman was nominated for both Best Director and Best Drama (along with Zhao’s film Nomadland), yet she’s also defined her style and genre of choice from her previous projects such as “The Crown,” The Danish Girl, and Anna Karenina. All this to say that she’s developed a serious amount of filmography. While her newest film is not a period piece, it does deal with a strong woman, Cassie (Carey Mulligan), who is smart and willing to do anything to get her revenge on men who prey on drunk women. It’s a film that takes a new spin on a sexual assault story and turns it into a girl-power driven thriller of sorts.
On a different note, Regina King’s 2020 film, One Night in Miami… is based on a night in 1964 when Muhammad Ali (Eli Goree), Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge), Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom Jr.) and Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir) come together and discuss their lives and the Civil Rights Movement. This film is focused on raising black voices and giving the audience an insight into how these successful black men were able to come together and fight for their rights to live equally in a segregated and broken America. Regina King’s voice as a black woman is prominent, but what is even more astounding is that this is her directorial debut. As a first time director, King has proven her talents lie both in acting and directing.
Conversely, this is not Chloé Zhao’s first time producing a drama film. She is a seasoned director with a specific, honest style to her work. Her nominated film, Nomadland, is a prime example of her depiction of realism and her true deftness when it comes to making something that is so sobering it feels and remains real to the people that watch it. The film features Fern (Frances McDormand), a nomad who goes from place to place, to work, to meet new people, and to see the world. Zhao’s scenic framing and blue atmosphere create something that elicits emotion about the physical world, yet also urges the audience to look inward.
These women have made history this year with their nominations for Best Director and rightfully so. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the group that votes for the Golden Globe nominees and winners, has certainly turned a new leaf this year, hopefully leading the way for more women to be recognized for their directorial expertise in the future. While these nominations don’t guarantee a female director winning, the chances are higher than they’ve ever been before. These nominations don’t make up for the years without any female representation, but it has certainly shown that the people behind the Golden Globes are making a step in the right direction.
‘Promising Young Woman’ is available to rent on Amazon Prime.
‘One Night in Miami’ is available on Amazon Prime.
‘Nomadland’ is available on Hulu.
Watch the Golden Globes Sun. Feb. 28 at 8/7 central on NBC.
By Kyra Matus