Considering the recent push towards diversity in filmmaking, one would think that perhaps the Directors Guild of America would be interested in taking steps towards better representing an under-represented group that also happens to make up half of humankind. We speak, of course, of women, who have made some marginal gains in the realm of TV directing in the past few years but whose numbers are actually declining in the feature-film directing categories. Why, just today Variety cited a report from the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film saying that a mere 7 percent of the 250 top-grossing films of 2016 were directed by women, down two percentage points from the year before.
By that metric, then, today’s Directors Guild of America nominations are downright progressive. Out of the 10 people nominated in the Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film and Outstanding Directorial Achievement of a First-Time Feature Film Director categories, nine are male, putting the DGA three whole percentage points ahead of the average. That 10 percent is embodied in the form of Kelly Fremon Craig, writer of the 2009 Alexis Bledel vehicle Post Grad, who was nominated for best first-time director for her film The Edge Of Seventeen.
The DGA did somewhat better when it comes to nominating men of color, with a whopping two people on the list. The fact that one of them is The Birth Of A Nation’s Nate Parker, whose film was dogged by revelations that Parker had been tried for rape more than a decade prior, does complicate that particular narrative, though. (The second of those two nominations was for Moonlight’s Barry Jenkins.)
All of this is not to say that the men who were nominated are not talented, or that the DGA made bad choices—although it did make some surprising ones, like the dual nod for Lion’s Garth Davis—but simply that this is all getting pretty fucking repetitive, guys. You can see the full list of DGA nominees below; if we were inclined to bet on such things, we’d put money on Chazelle.
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film
Damien Chazelle, La La Land
Garth Davis, Lion
Barry Jenkins, Moonlight
Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester By The Sea
Denis Villeneuve, Arrival
Outstanding Directorial Achievement of a First-Time Feature Film Director
Garth Davis, Lion
Kelly Fremon Craig, The Edge Of Seventeen
Tim Miller, Deadpool
Nate Parker, The Birth Of A Nation
Dan Trachtenberg, 10 Cloverfield Lane