'The Woman King' Director Responds to 'Eye-Opening' Oscars Shutout
The Woman King director Gina Prince-Bythewood has an important message for the Academy.
Ever since the nominations for the 2023 Oscars were revealed, fans and reviewers alike have been mystified as to why The Woman King wasn't nominated for any awards, despite critical acclaim and a powerhouse cast led by recent EGOT winner Viola Davis. And though Prince-Bythewood has kept relatively quiet about the shutout, she's now made her opinion known in a piece published by The Hollywood Reporter, where she described this awards season as "an eye-opener."
"I've gotten so many texts and emails from people in the industry outraged by the Oscar nominations. Of course I'm disappointed. Who wouldn't be? Especially because there was so much love for our film," she wrote, while noting that The Woman King was also a commercial success, with "global box office numbers that show the film will earn $100 million."
"But the Academy made a very loud statement, and for me to stay quiet is to accept that statement. So I agreed to speak up, on behalf of Black women whose work has been dismissed in the past," Prince-Blythewood continued, before also mentioning Till director Chinonye Chukwu, who previously accused the Academy of "misogyny towards Black women" after the film was also left out of the nominations.
That said, Prince-Blythewood went on to say that she doesn't consider the lack of recognition a "snub." Rather, it's an issue of "social capital," as well as "a reflection of where the Academy stands and the consistent chasm between Black excellence and recognition,” which "is not just an issue in Hollywood but in every industry."
“It’s a difficult thing to know, for every Black filmmaker and definitely every Black female filmmaker, that your work is not valued in the same way,” as she continued. “This is a systemic American problem, which is why this felt so insidious and large."
She said, "It’s tough to enter something that’s supposed to be judged on merit, but you know it’s not a meritocracy.”
You can read everything Prince-Blythewood has to say in The Hollywood Reporter about the shutout here.
Photo via Getty / Emma McIntyre