Every year, the Oscar nominations bring with them some sort of controversy. The awards are messy, and very worthy people always get left out. This year, one of the chief causes of uproar was the lack of diversity among the directing nominees. Among the nominated directors, four were white, and all five were men.
That means that Greta Gerwig, who received widespread acclaim for her direction of "Little Women," was not nominated for Best Director, even though the film earned six nominations.
As Issa Rae read out the list of Best Director nominees, she couldn't help but add a comment on the entire male list. "Congratulations to these men," Rae said, making a point of emphasizing the category's gender ratio.
"Little Women" specifically received a nomination for Best Picture, as well as nominations for its stars Saoirse Ronan and Florence Pugh. These two certainly gave worthy performances worth celebrating, but they also made their feelings about Gerwig's snub perfectly clear as they reacted to their nominations.
In a statement, Ronan did not hold back, saying: "Greta, since she started, has made two perfect films, and I hope when she makes her next perfect movie, she gets recognized for everything because I think she’s one of the most important filmmakers of our time."
Ronan starred in both "Little Women" and Gerwig's previous film, "Lady Bird," which she received a Best Director nomination for. The relationship between the director and star is clearly quite a close one, and the results speak for themselves.
In speaking with Entertainment Weekly about her nomination, Pugh had a similar response. "It’s incredibly upsetting," she said. "It’s a shame that it’s still a conversation. [Gerwig’s] literally made a film about this. She made a film about women working and their relationship with money and their relationship with working in a man’s world."
"That’s literally what Little Women is about," Pugh continued, "so [this] only underlines how important it is — because it’s happening." The film's stars know the movie would be nothing without Gerwig.
Gerwig herself has chosen to take the high road, celebrating the many nominations that the film did receive. “I am brimming with happiness — thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you (that’s six!) to the Academy," Gerwig wrote in a statement reacting to the nominations.
She continued, saying "This film of Little Women has been over thirty years in the making, from the very first time Louisa May Alcott and Jo March reached across time and space and made me believe I could be a writer and creator. . . every single person who worked on this film poured their heart and soul into it, and we are all so grateful to the Academy for recognizing the collective effort."