Trigger Warning: This article contains a reference to sexual assault.
You’ve no doubt heard the expression: “Make sure to wear shoes, ladies. There’s glass everywhere”. The phrase went viral after the election of US Vice-President Kamala Harris and will hopefully be relevant for every year to come.
At any rate, it certainly fits the bill in terms of the nominations for the Golden Globe Awards, which were announced on February 3 in the US by Sarah Jessica Parker and Taraji P. Henson.
In a history making twist, the majority of the nominees who will be competing for the coveted title of Best Director at the February 28 awards show are female — Chloe Zhao for Nomadland, Emerald Fennell for Promising Young Woman and Regina King for One Night in Miami. Also nominated in the category are David Fincher for Mank and Aaron Sorkin for The Trial of the Chicago 7.
The news comes after years of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association receiving backlash for its lack of female inclusion in the Best Director category. In fact, Natalie Portman even remarked on the situation when presenting the award in 2018, quipping “Here are the all-male nominees.”
Prior to 2021, only seven nominations had been bestowed upon women since the Globes’ inception in 1994, two of them for Barbara Streisand who was nominated for Yentl in 1984 and The Prince of Tides in 1991. She remains the only female to win in the category.
Other nominees were Australian director Jane Campion for The Piano in 1994, Sofia Coppola for Lost in Translation in 2004,Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker in 2010 and again in 2013 for Zero Dark Thirty; and Ava DuVernay Selma in 2015.
Zhao’s nomination for Nomandland, which stars Frances McDormand, makes her the first woman of Asian descent to be nominated for best director, while King’s nomination for One Night in Miami makes her only the second Black woman — after DuVernay — to be recognised in the category.
For Fennel, whose #MeToo era film Promising Young Woman was also nominated for Best Original Screenplay, it seems the nomination left her a little lost for words with the director taking to Twitter to simply write “OH MY GODDDDDDDDDDDD” in response to her nomination.
OH MY GODDDDDDDDDDDD
— Emerald Fennell (@emeraldfennell) February 3, 2021
Fennell, who played a young Camilla Parker Bowles on Netflix’s The Crown and also executive producer season two of Killing Eve, also wrote the script for her directorial debut which revolves around a deeply traumatized medical student Cassie (Mulligan) who is on a mission to seek retribution for her childhood friend who took her own life after being raped at a college party. The perpetrators of the attack never faced any consequences, thanks to their privileged lives and top lawyers hired by rich parents.
Fennel told Deadline, “I think there would have been a temptation for other actors to maybe make Cassie kind of a badass. It was important, certainly to me and to Carey, that she felt real; she felt like a traumatised person.”
If you or anyone you know is struggling and needs support, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or Lifeline on 13 11 14, both of which provide trained counsellors you can talk with 24/7. You can also talk to someone from 1800RESPECT via online chat. If you are in immediate danger, call 000. (edited)