Gina Prince-Bythewood via Twitter
*The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is catching heat for failing to nominate any women in the directing category for this year’s Oscars.
Gina Prince-Bythewood, director of “The Woman King,” tells THR that “the Academy made a very loud statement, and for me to stay quiet is to accept that statement.”
In a first-person article for The Hollywood Reporter, Prince-Bythewood notes that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (the governing body responsible for the awards), pretty much has no respect for Black artists.
She wrote that “The Woman King” not being nominated for any category is “a reflection of where the Academy stands and the consistent chasm between Black excellence and recognition. And, sadly, this is not just an issue in Hollywood but in every industry.”
READ MORE: #OscarsSoMale? – Women Shut Out of the Directing Category
Viola Davis in ‘The Woman King’
She writes: “This awards season was an eye-opener. I was thinking about how to encapsulate what it feels like to be a Black filmmaker in the awards conversation, and I thought about my recent screening of The Woman King at UCLA, which is my alma mater. There were a couple hundred students in the film school, and it was an incredible screening. The Q&A afterward was supposed to be an hour, and it ended up being two hours of conversation. Just a beautiful environment, beautiful reception. And I left there on a high. Just 15 minutes later, I stopped in Westwood at a makeup store, Ulta, to grab something I needed for an event later. And I got followed around by the security guard. I was like, “What a contrast.” Within a half-hour period, I had people seeing me as an artist — really seeing me. And then, I was at a low of seeing a perception of me that has been built through decades of discrimination, and the images of us that the media has created. That hurt.”
The director also touched on the outcry over Andrea Riseborough’s surprise nomination for best actress, which some felt should’ve gone to Violas Davis for her ‘Woman King’ performance.
“My issue with what happened is how people in the industry use their social capital – screenings in their homes, personal calls, personal emails, personal connections, elevated status,” Prince-Bythewood wrote. “People like to say, ‘Well, Viola and Danielle (Deadwyler, who was also did not earn a nomination) had studios behind them.’ But we just very clearly saw that social capital is more valuable than that.”
Riseborough had a slew of A-lister celebs lead a grassroots campaign for her nomination -and their efforts paid off.
Prince-Bythewood pointed out that “there is no groundswell from privileged people with enormous social capital to get behind Black women. There never has been.”
Read her full piece for THR HERE.
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