‘Lady Bird’ Director Greta Gerwig Shut Out At BAFTAs

Kim Taylor-Foster

The BAFTAs – or British Academy Film Awards – are one of the highlights in the awards season calendar. Hot on the heels of the weekend’s Golden Globes ceremony comes the announcement of this year’s BAFTA nominations. And there are some surprises amongst them. None bigger than the fact that Greta Gerwig – the woman writer-director behind one of 2017’s most acclaimed films Lady Bird – has been passed over for recognition in the Best Director category.

All Men

This comes after there was an outcry over her snub at the Golden Globes. At a ceremony that became a platform for both the Time’s Up and #MeToo campaigns in support of women and those who’ve been victims at the hands of powerful men, not one woman was nominated for the Best Director award. And that’s despite a number of high profile and highly acclaimed female-directed films from 2017 not only being eligible but also talked about in the same breath as some of those recognised.

Instead, the list was dominated by white men, including Steven Spielberg, Christopher Nolan, Martin McDonagh and Ridley Scott. The only notable exception came in the form of Mexican director Guillermo del Toro, who went home with the Best Director win. Yet thankfully this didn’t go unnoticed, as  Natalie Portman commented on the prevalence of men in the category before presenting the award.

Women are also entirely absent from the BAFTAs roll call too, which similarly has a bias towards men. Del Toro, Nolan and McDonagh are nominated, with Scott and Spielberg ignored in favour of Call Me By Your Name director Luca Guadagnino and Blade Runner 2049 helmer Denis Villeneuve.

Shocking Shut-Out

At least Gerwig’s Lady Bird was put forward for Best Comedy Film at the Globes. Not only was it put forward, but it also won — although some are calling out this win as proof that the powers that be don’t recognise a woman without a man involved as worthy of an award, hence the Best Director snub.

Unfortunately, there is no category for Best Comedy or Musical Film at the BAFTAs, so we don’t know how it might have fared if there was. And no, it didn’t get a nod in the Best Film category — which is populated by Three Billboards, The Shape of Water, Dunkirk, Darkest Hour and Call Me By Your Name. Frankly, it’s a shock to see Lady Bird and Greta Gerwig shut out once again, in two of the most prominent BAFTAs categories.

As for the Best Original Screenplay category, Gerwig does pick up a nomination. However, in the same category at the Globes she lost out to Martin McDonagh. The likelihood is that the same will happen at the BAFTAs.

Will the Oscars Redress the Balance?

It’s all evidence to suggest that the Oscars might follow suit and also fail to recognise the contribution of women to film in 2017. A year that’s seen female directing talent including Wonder Woman’s Patty Jenkins, Mudbound helmer Dee Rees, Detroit director Kathryn Bigelow and Greta Gerwig make an indelible mark in cinema. Those are just a few names among both emerging and established female talent that have been responsible for some extraordinary films. All against a backdrop that has highlighted the inequality existing within an industry that has seen the dominance and abuse of power by men in the field exposed. If ever there was a time to put women creators front and centre, it’s now — at the 2018 awards ceremonies. Oscars, it’s down to you.

The EE British Academy Film Awards takes place on Sunday, February 18. The Awards will be broadcast exclusively on BBC One and BBC One HD.

Kim Taylor-Foster
Kim Taylor-Foster is Entertainment Editor for Fandom in the UK. She was raised on an unsteady diet of video nasties and violent action flicks.