Greta Gerwig (Best Director)
Catherine Orihuela, a&e editor
Nominated for Best Director at the 2018 Oscars for “Lady Bird,” many believed the indie darling would be recognized for her masterful 2019 adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women.” But alas, Gerwig was one of several female directors overlooked by the Academy, marking the second year in a row of an all-male directing category. In a post-#MeToo era, one would hope that institutions like the Academy would make a concerted effort to bring about greater gender parity in the film industry; but that doesn’t appear to be the case. Gerwig could have made Oscars history as the first woman to be nominated for Best Director twice.
“Portrait of a Lady on Fire” (Best Foreign Language Film)
Lauren Mattice, digital managing editor
Despite winning Best Screenplay and the Queer Palm prize at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, Céline Sciamma’s feature was passed over for Ladj Ly’s “Les Misérables” as France’s nominee for the category. An 18th century romance between, Héloïse, a woman to be wed and the woman to painting her portrait for her suitor, Marianne, Sciamma describes the project as leveling the playing field, where “there is no muse, no fetishised, silent woman in the room.” Her efforts to make the project a statement of equality shine through in anecdotes by the cast and raises further questions as to why the highly-acclaimed film was set to the side.
Lupita Nyong’o (Best Actress for “Us”)
Natalie Oganesyan, associate managing editor
The Academy is undoubtedly a relic, as evidenced by the lack of diversity of its nominations: no female Best Director nomination and, most prominently, Lupita Nyong’o’s snub for Best Actress. Nyong’o played not one, but two, difficult, captivating roles in “Us.” The only Black woman nominated in the Best Actress category, in true Oscars fashion, plays a slave — a sign of the Academy’s problematic fascination with trauma porn and misrepresentation of Black actors’ abilities.
“Us” (Best Picture)
Stuart Carson, sports editor
It appears that the stigma that has dogged the horror genre since the Oscars’ inception is not lost on this awards season. “Us,” despite all of its merits, did not make the cut for Best Picture nominee this year. Considering it would’ve been only the seventh horror film nominated for the award, it is not difficult to guess why. It’s not a perfect film, but neither are “The Irishman,” “Ford v Ferrari” or “Joker.” Unlike those films, “Us” delves into one of the most strikingly underexplored subjects in film — class conflict — and delivers with an infinitely rewatchable and thought-provoking film. that improves with every watch.