Hours after nominations for the 95th Academy Awards were unveiled on Tuesday, Chukwu — whose acclaimed movie was not nominated for any awards — shared an image of herself posing with civil rights activist Myrlie Evers-Williams at the film's Los Angeles premiere in October 2022. Evers-Williams is portrayed in Till by actor Jayme Lawson.
"We live in a world and work in industries that are so aggressively committed to upholding whiteness and perpetuating an unabashed misogyny towards Black women," the director wrote in a caption alongside the photo.
"And yet," Chukwu continued in her caption. "I am forever in gratitude for the greatest lesson of my life - regardless of any challenges or obstacles, I will always have the power to cultivate my own joy, and it is this joy that will continue to be one of my greatest forms of resistance. ✊🏽"
Though Till did not score any Oscar nominations Tuesday, the movie — which follows the true story of Emmett Till and his mother Mamie Till-Mobley's fight for justice after his murder in 1955 — has received nominations for lead actress Danielle Deadwyler at the upcoming Screen Actors Guild Awards and 2023 BAFTA Awards. Deadwyler also received the Gotham Award for Outstanding Lead Performance at the start of awards season late last year.
Black actors were shut out of the Best Actress Oscars race this year, including Viola Davis who had scored a Golden Globe and SAG Award nomination for The Woman King, which received no nominations.
Cate Blanchett (Tár), Ana de Armas (Blonde), Andrea Riseborough (To Leslie), Michelle Williams (The Fabelmans) and Michelle Yeoh (Everything Everywhere All at Once) were the five actors nominated for Best Actress by the Academy on Tuesday.
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Till's absence from 2023 Oscar nominations also highlights a year in which no women were nominated for the Best Director Academy Award, after a female director won the award in each of the previous two years.
Female directors shut out of the category whose films were nominated in other categories include Charlotte Wells (Aftersun) and Sarah Polley (Women Talking). Aside from Chukwu's Till, Gina Prince-Bythewood's The Woman King and Maria Schrader's She Said were also not recognized.
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Chloé Zhao was just the second woman ever to win the award in 2021 when she won for Nomadland, while Kathryn Bigelow made history with her win in 2010 for The Hurt Locker.
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In December 2022, Chukwu told The Los Angeles Times that Till "is a story that is so deeply tied to our present reality."
"It is prioritizing a Black gaze. It is centering Black women," she told the outlet. "It is also uplifting, showing love, joy and community alongside the inherent pain of being a Black person in the world. I was very excited about presenting this story in that way."