Ready for a Hollywood story with a surprise twist ending?
The number of women directors of big-budget films this past year was only at 8 percent — and that’s a shocking 1 percent less than it was 20 years ago. No women directors are up for an Academy Award, and for the 7th consecutive year the BAFTA’s (aka British Oscars) also didn’t have a single woman nominee in the best director category.
Megastar Scarlett Johansson was not having it. “I think it just goes to show us that we’re still part of a system that holds women back and uhm we have to keep pushing against that,” the star of Marriage Story said on the BAFTA red carpet.
That’s bad news because a Center for Study of Women in Television and Film report shows that women directors hire significantly more women and minorities than do male directors. It’s a trickle down effect that includes writers, cinematographers and composers — just about all aspects of film production.
But, here’s the twist — 2020 is shaping up to be a banner year for women directors. Five of the most anticipated movies are directed by women, including all four of the superhero movies, namely "Wonder Woman 1984", "Black Widow", the "Eternals" and "Birds of Prey", opening Feb. 7, which features an all-woman lineup — directed by Cathy Yan from a screenplay by Christina Hodson and produced by Margot Robbie, who also stars as the indomitable Harley Quinn. The live action "Mulan" movie is directed by Niki Caro and hits theaters March 27.
This could be a game changer. If those five films perform as expected they could rake in billions at the box office and finally shatter a widespread belief that women-led films don’t perform as well as those directed and produced by men.
That could boost the careers not only of women directors, but of all women who work in the entertainment industry as their job prospects get a whole lot brighter due to the trickle down effect sparked by women directors.
As for Johansson, she is the star of Black Widow, directed by Cate Shortland and expected to hit theaters on May 1. She may have some better news when she walks the red carpet next year.