By Melissa Silverstein | Women and Hollywood November 19, 2013 at 11:15AM
Here's my latest Forbes Post:
The awards season is another time of the year where you can literally feel the gender disparity of behind the scenes personnel in the film business. While the summer is dominated by features with superheroes and nary a woman lead onscreen, thankfully the award season usually gives us strong female performances -- which to me is another reason why we should never abolish the best actress category and make it gender neutral. This year potential nominees include Sandra Bullock for Gravity, Cate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine, Emma Thompson for Saving Mr. Banks, Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep for August Osage County and Judi Dench for Philomena. And Scarlett Johansson has arrived as a contender having just this weekend won the top actress prize at the Rome Film Festival for Her where she does not appear in the film but plays the voice of a computer. (In addition, still to come are recent Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence and nominee Amy Adams in American Hustle.)
But one thing that you may or may not know from the list of women above, is that not a single one of their movies is directed by a woman. I wish I could say this was an uncommon occurrence. In fact, it is just the opposite. It is a huge anomaly when there are women directors in the year end Oscar conversation for best director. Last year former Oscar winner (and still the only woman to win the Oscar for best director) Kathryn Bigelow was in the mix with Zero Dark Thirty, but at the end of the day, when the nominations were announced, she was left out. (As was Ben Affleck whose film Argo won best picture.) Some of the women who released films this year included Oscar nominee Sofia Coppola, Oscar winner (for foreign language film) Susanne Bier as well as Kimberly Peirce and Margarethe von Trotta. Coming up for the holiday season is Jennifer Lee who co-directed Frozen and Kasi Lemmons' Black Nativity.