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The Miseducation of Cameron Post
The Miseducation of Cameron PostDirected by Desiree Akhavan

All the films directed by women that should have been Oscar nominated

Not a single woman director get a Best Picture or Best Director nod this year – so we created an alternative nominations list of our own

Do you, hand on heart, believe that Bohemian Rhapsody, a by-the-numbers biopic by Bryan Singer, is a more enriching movie than Lynne Ramsay’s nail-biting You Were Never Really Here? Did you detect more nuance in Peter Farrelly’s “white saviour” snoozefest Green Book than the transcendent poetry of Debra Granik’s Leave No Trace? And if Can You Ever Forgive Me? can score nods for Melissa McCarthy, Richard E. Grant and Best Adapted Screenplay in the 2019 Oscars nominations, is it logical that it’s not a Best Picture nominee, and that Marielle Heller isn't also on the list for Best Director?

If you said yes to any of the above, you could be one of the 7,902 members of the Academy whose selections for this year’s Oscars featured only male contenders for Best Director, and only male-directed films for Best Picture. Last year, when Natalie Portman presented Best Director at the Golden Globes, she announced into the microphone, “Here are all the male nominees…” Pretty quickly, those six words became a meme and trended on social media. But statistically, at these awards shows, it’s the norm. So how long can this joke go on for?

Although Greta Gerwig was Oscar-nominated for Best Director last year, she was only the fifth woman of all time to be up for the award. No woman of colour has ever been nominated for Best Director, and only Kathryn Bigelow has won the actual prize. What’s more, if it seemed damning at the 2018 Oscars that Lady Bird was the only female-directed Best Picture contender, then what do we conclude from this year’s grand total of zero? To put that in perspective, let’s remember that one of the frontrunners is Green Book – mere weeks after its director was outed as a penis-flasher.

Just as life imitates art, and award shows reflect the prejudices of said art, these Oscar nominations offer a snapshot of the cinematic landscape right now. After all, the Oscars have never really celebrated the best films of the year (for that list, click here), but are just the industry revealing their true colours, their overwhelming demographic, and who they want to survive in a competitive environment. That this happened in the year of Time’s Up, in the wake of numerous Green Book scandals (did I mention that the screenwriter also turned out to be a colossal racist), and during Bryan Singer’s ongoing downfall, is all the more concerning. Again, Bohemian Rhapsody has five nominations, which is five more than Leave No Trace.

Now, I know what some of the Twitter eggs are going to say: if more movies are directed by men than women, then won’t that affect the Oscar nominations? That’s true, to a small degree, but, remember, these awards are political, they’re a sign of who a powerful body wishes to support, and the Academy is an institution that puts more effort into the diversity of who announces the nominations than the actual nominations themselves. Plus, most importantly, it’s actually baffling that a giant voting body will overwhelmingly prefer Bohemian Rhapsody and Green Book over, say, Private LifeLeave No Trace and You Were Never Really Here. So in response, we’ve compiled an alternate Oscars. Here’s what the nominations could look like if they consisted entirely of brilliant woman-directed movies.


The Land of Steady Habits (Nicole Holofcener)
Leave No Trace (Debra Granik)
Let the Sunshine In (Claire Denis)
Madeline’s Madeline (Josephine Decker)
The Miseducation of Cameron Post (Desiree Akhavan)
Nancy (Christina Choe)
Oh, Lucy! (Atsuko Hirayanagi)
Private Life (Tamara Jenkins)
The Tale (Jennifer Fox)
You Were Never Really Here (Lynne Ramsay)

If your jaw was dropping at the sight of Green Book and Bohemian Rhapsody receiving Best Picture, then here are 10 suggestions for what should have taken their places. It’s worth noting that while The Tale was Emmy-nominated, in a better world the 114-minute drama would have been treated as a movie movie, with an Oscars push. 


Leave No Trace (Debra Granik) 
I Am Not a Witch (Rungano Nyoni)
Madeline’s Madeline (Josephine Decker)  
Private Life (Tamara Jenkins) 
You Were Never Really Here (Lynne Ramsay)

People are still rewatching and talking about Leave No Trace and You Were Never Really Here. Will anyone be doing the same with Vice in a month’s time? Again, it’s worth repeating: next month, the 91st Academy Awards will be the 86th without a female nominee for Best Director.


Noah Centineo (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before)
Paul Giamatti (Private Life)
Ben Mendelsohn (The Land of Steady Habits)
Glen Powell (Set It Up)
Joaquin Phoenix (You Were Never Really Here)

Is it the case that woman-directed movies don’t receive enough support during the year, and thus don’t become awards contenders? Take not that four of these movies didn’t even receive cinema releases. We also have to give a shout-out to Centino for his reaction to Lara Jean’s love of James Dean: “You have the references of an 80-year-old.”


Laura Dern (The Tale)
Lana Condor (To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before)
Helena Howard (Madeline’s Madeline)
Thomasin McKenzie (Leave No Trace)
Andrea Riseborough (Nancy)

Here are five nominees that were never in contention for various reasons: The Tale was submitted as a TV movie for the Emmys, McKenzie was campaigned for Best Supporting Actress, and so on. But how can anyone see Madeline’s Madeline and not think a star is born? We also want to praise Riseborough for Nancy, a film that unfortunately went under the radar last year.


Jermaine Clement (The Breaker Upperers)
Ben Foster (Leave No Trace)
Thomas Mann (The Land of Steady Habits)
Kacey Mottet-Klein (Shock Waves – Diary of My Mind)
Jaden Smith (Skate Kitchen)

Again, if Nicole Holofcener’s The Land of Steady Habits had received a proper theatrical release, then Thomas Mann would have received more attention in a category that will almost certainly be won by Green Book. 


Fanny Ardant (Shock Waves – Diary of My Mind)
Kayli Carter (Private Life)
Sasha Lane (The Miseducation of Cameron Post)
Joanna Scanlon (Pin Cushion)
Dolly Wells (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)

The actual nominees here, including Rachel Weisz, Regina King and Marina de Tavira, are hard to argue with. But Pin Cushion is a searing, powerfully acted drama about the trauma of teenage bullying that could have used with awards attention to reach a wider audience.



Let the Sunshine In (Christine Angot, Claire Denis)
Madeline’s Madeline (Josephine Decker)
Nancy (Christina Choe)
Private Life (Tamara Jenkins)
The Tale (Jennifer Fox)

For Private Life, Jenkins drew from her own personal experiences with IVF. For Green Book, an apology had to be issued to Don Shirley’s family for the screenplay’s “hurtful” lies.


Can You Ever Forgive Me? (Nicole Holofcener, Jeff Whitty)
Leave No Trace (Debra Granik, Anne Rosellini)
The Miseducation of Cameron Post (Desiree Akhavan, Cecilia Frugiuele)
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (Sofia Alvarez)
You Were Never Really Here (Lynne Ramsay)

This was, weirdly, the one category that Leave No Trace seemed confident of getting a nomination for – but even that didn’t happen.


Let the Sunshine In (Claire Denis)
 Florianopolis Dream (Ana Katz)
Jeune Femme (Leonor Serraile)
An Impossible Love (Catherine Corsini)
Happy as Lazzaro (Alice Rohrwacher)

And for a sixth film: Zama by Lucrecia Martel.