One bright spot in the Golden Globes film nominations is that for the first time, THREE women have been nominated for Best Director. Regina King (One Night in Miami), Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman), and Chloe Zhao (Nomadland) all received directing nods. Previously, only five women have ever been nominated by the HFPA, and only one, Barbra Streisand, has won (for Yentl). Now, knowing the HFPA they will completely f-ck up this genuinely feel-good moment by giving the trophy to Aaron Sorkin, but 2020 was a huge year for women in film, and it feels appropriate that this is the year that led to three women being nominated for Best Director at once.
Jokes about Sorkin aside, maybe one of these women really has a chance at winning, and increasing the Globes’ record to an entire TWO women who have won Best Director. Chloe Zhao is considered a frontrunner for the Oscar, and she would be the hot new pick—which the HFPA LOVES to do—with her next movie being a Marvel extravaganza and the general sense that Chloe Zhao is the next big filmmaker to emerge. I think Fennell has a better shot at Best Screenplay, but Regina King is definitely still in the hunt. It won’t matter as much the Globes, because the HFPA is a limited voting body, but King is ENORMOUSLY popular within the industry (the benefit of being a long-gigging actor who has worked with everyone and left good impressions everywhere, see also: the inevitable 2021 awards run of Clifton Collins, Jr. for Jockey). I would NEVER count out Regina King for anything, and besides being popular, she directed the hell out of One Night in Miami. I would not be mad if King and Zhao split the Oscars and Golden Globes between them.
Every year when women get shut out of Best Director races, some people—entirely men—inevitably say, “Maybe the movies weren’t that good,” and, “Shouldn’t they nominate the best movies?” Well, these three movies ARE among the best of 2020. The work is there—the work has ALWAYS been there—and it is finally being recognized as such. There is still more work to be done, for sure, but amidst all the bonkers feelings the Golden Globes nominations always manage to generate, here is a genuine bright spot. 2020 was a huge year for women in film, and the Best Director nominations reflect that. Now it’s up to the Academy to recognize that women are doing the work, have been doing the work, will continue to do the work. There’s really no excuse for the much broader voting bloc represented by the Academy. The ball is in the Academy’s court.
You can view the full list of nominees here.