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Among the most anticipated categories revealed Thursday morning during the announcement of the 2016¬†Oscar nominations was Best Director. This year's honorees are¬†Lenny Abrahamson (Room),¬†Alejandro G.¬†I√Ī√°rritu (The Revenant),¬†Adam McKay (The Big Short),¬†Tom McCarthy (Spotlight), and George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road).

You may have noticed that none of those people are women, making this year's Best Director category look much the same as last year's. And the year before that. And the year before that. Also, that other year. The previous one, too.


It's now been the better part of a decade since a woman director was last nominated for an Academy Award.

Kathryn Bigelow‚ÄĒthe only woman ever named¬†Best Director‚ÄĒtook home the Oscar for¬†The Hurt Locker at 2010's 82nd Academy Awards, defeating her ex-husband James Cameron, who was nominated for¬†Avatar. Her Jeremy Renner-starring war film¬†also won Best Picture.

To put this into perspective, in the six-year period since Bigelow's nod, David O. Russell has been nominated three times (for¬†The Social Network,¬†Silver Linings Playbook, and¬†American Hustle), Alexander Payne twice (for¬†The Descendants and¬†Nebraska), Martin Scorsese twice (for¬†Hugo and¬†The Wolf of Wall Street), and I√Īarritu twice (also for¬†Birdman).¬†Women, as a whole: Zero times.


In the entirety of Oscars history, just four women directors have been recognized for their work.¬†Besides Bigelow, there was¬†Lina Wertm√ľller (1976), Jane Campion (1993), and Sofia Coppola (2003).

It's worth noting that¬†women are much better represented¬†in other key behind-the scenes Oscars categories this year‚ÄĒfor writing Inside Out (Meg LeFauve),¬†Straight Outta Compton (Andrea Berloff),¬†Carol (Phyllis Nagy), and¬†Room¬†(Emma Donoghue); and for editing¬†Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Maryann Brandon and Mary Jo Markey) and¬†Mad Max: Fury Road¬†(Margaret Sixel).

But these crafts, while vital to filmmaking, fall short of the prestige and creative control associated with directing. It's clear now more than ever than Hollywood has a problem with institutionalized sexism, to say nothing of its institutionalized racism. When will we give women in show business the same opportunities we give men?


Molly Fitzpatrick is senior editor of Fusion's Pop & Culture section. Her interests include movies about movies, TV shows about TV shows, and movies about TV shows, but not so much TV shows about movies.