People walk along the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Hollywood, California (Photographer: Armando Arorizo/Bloomberg)

Film-Director Honors Show Scant Progress for Women in Hollywood

(Bloomberg) -- A year ago, Natalie Portman skewered Hollywood’s gender imbalance by introducing a best-director award with the phrase: “Here are the all-male nominees.”

Since then, pressure has mounted for the film industry to include more women in production. But director’s chairs have proven especially tough, as evidenced by the Directors Guild of America nominees announced on Tuesday. Only men are in line to collect the organization’s top prizes: Bradley Cooper, Alfonso Cuaron, Peter Farrelly, Spike Lee and Adam McKay.

Female directors have made some popular and critically acclaimed films in the past year, including Marielle Heller’s “Can You Ever Forgive Me,” Lynne Ramsay’s “You Were Never Really Here,” Debra Granik’s “Leave No Trace,” Karyn Kusama’s “Destroyer” and Chloe Zhao’s “The Rider.” But none was nominated in either the feature-film or first-time director categories.

This Guild’s prizes are notable because they serve of the best predictors of the best-director and best-picture Oscar winners. Cuaron is all but certain to win both the Guild award and the Oscar award for directing for “Roma,” according to awards tracker Gold Derby. In its 71 years, the Guild has only given the top directing prize to one woman: Kathryn Bigelow, for “The Hurt Locker.”

Some female directors point to the makeup of the guild to explain the results. Just 16 percent of director members are female directors, but the number rises to a quarter when considering other members of a directorial team.

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