Despite being one of the year’s biggest hits and receiving positive reviews, The Woman King was not nominated for an Oscar. The film, which was directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, also received an A+ CinemaScore and was nominated for several precursor awards, including Best Direction and Best Actress for lead Viola Davis at the BAFTAs.
Now that the movie has been completely excluded from the Oscars, director Gina Prince-Bythewood has claimed that it has been an “eye-opener” for her. Star Viola Davis posted about Gina’s most recent essay on her Instagram and expressed solidarity.
Despite being such a critical and economic success, director Gina Prince-Bythewood was “disappointed” that The Woman King did not receive any nominations. She emphasized that there is still a big gap to be filled before Black artists are appreciated.
In addition, she mentioned more films and performances that were overlooked by the Academy, like Saint-Omer and till, and claimed that this discrimination occurs not just in Hollywood but in every business.
The Academy members who merely didn’t want to see the movie hit me as I progressed through this awards season. At some of our screenings, people would tell me they had to be coerced into going because they didn’t think the movie was for them, or they would talk about how they couldn’t get their friends to go with them and how shocked they were by how much they enjoyed the movie.
It’s difficult to stomach hearing that over and over again, she wrote in the essay, which star Viola Davis later posted on Instagram. Davis expressed unity with the director’s views on the underrepresentation of Black women in Hollywood films.
Viola, who just entered the exclusive EGOT club after winning a Grammy, has received four Oscar nominations and won in 2017 for the film Fences.
Allyship is the active defense of a minority group’s rights while not belonging to that group. That is what is lacking. We rarely benefit from “grassroots” campaigns, whether they are started by peers or are funded by the industry with millions of dollars.
You have to understand our predicament and take action to help or hinder it if you see my work. I support Gina Prince-Bythewood and all other artists of color who persevere in their work and flourish despite the circumstances they find themselves in. I shall continue to hope.
Her reference to a “grassroots effort” alludes to Andrea Riseborough’s unexpected Best Leading Actress nomination for her performance in the independent film To Leslie, which came about as a result of a grassroots campaign the performer and her director organized to promote Riseborough’s role.
The Academy even had a meeting last week to discuss the nomination and the campaigning efforts that went into it, but later announced that the candidature would not be withdrawn.