The Woman King failed to receive any Oscar nominations, even though it was one of the biggest hits of last year which had also achieved critical success. Director Gina Prince-Bythewood’s film also had an A+ Cinemascore, and was nominated for a string of precursor awards, most notably at the BAFTAs with Best Direction and Best Actress for star Viola Davis. Now director Gina Prince-Bythewood has said that the film’s complete shutout from the Oscars has been an ‘eye-opener’ for her, with star Viola Davis posting about Gina’s recent article on her Instagram and standing in solidarity. (Also read: Andrea Riseborough’s Oscar nomination for To Leslie will not be revoked, says The Academy in a new statement)
Director Gina Prince-Bythewood wrote in a recent article published in The Hollywood Reporter that she was ‘disappointed’ that The Woman King failed to get any nominations despite being such a critical and commercial success. She pointed out that there was a long space that needs to filled for Black artists to be recognized. She also said that this discrimination is not just a part of Hollywood but every industry, and added other films and performances that were given no recognition by the Academy, namely Saint Omer and Till.
“As I moved through this awards season, I was struck by the Academy members who simply didn’t want to see the film. People thought it was a compliment at some of our screenings to tell me they had to be dragged there, because they didn’t think it was a film for them, or spoke of contemporaries who couldn’t be convinced to come with them, and being so surprised by how much they loved the film. To hear that over and over, it’s tough to stomach.” she wrote in the piece, that has since been shared by star Viola Davis on her Instagram, where she stood in solidarity with the director’s opinions on the neglect around Black female-led films.
Viola, who just joined the elite club of EGOT, after winning a Grammy, has been nominated for an Oscar four times, winning in 2017 for Fences. In her post, Viola wrote, “Allyship = Active support for the rights of a marginalized group without being a member of it. THIS is what’s missing. Whether it be a “grassroots” campaign spearheaded by peers or multi-million industry dollars backing one, we rarely are the benefactors. If you see my work you also have to see our plight and either contribute to it or hinder it. I stand in solidarity with Gina Prince-Bythewood and all artists of color who continue to work, create, thrive despite our environment. I will hope….always”
Her point on ‘grassroots’ campaign alluded to the surprise Best Leading Actress nomination of actor Andrea Riseborough for her work in To Leslie, which took place because the actor and her director arranged a grassroots campaign to promote her work in the low-key independent film. The Academy had even conducted a meeting last week to reconsider the nomination and the campaigning efforts behind the nomination and later said that the nomination won’t be revoked.