DGA Nominations For Jodie Foster Highlight Widening Gender Gap Between Film And Television

Award-winning actress, producer, and director Jodie Foster has earned two Directors Guild of America nominations — simultaneously attracting attention for her work on Netflix original series Orange is the New Black and House of Cards, and bringing some balance to the organization — following accusations of sexism regarding its previously announced feature film category. Announcing the nominations for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Television, Commercials and Documentary, Directors Guild of America President Paris Barclay praised the caliber of work created over the past year.

“The spectrum of directorial excellence across today’s nine television and documentary categories is revelatory for the breadth and depth in what each of these women and men have directed — from 30 second commercials, to multi-hour mini-series.

“As fellow filmmakers, we’re inspired by the quality, imagination and creativity demonstrated by these impressive nominees; as audience members, we’re incredibly fortunate to enjoy the fruits of their labours. Our congratulations to all the nominees.”

Receiving the first DGA nominations of her long career, Jodie Foster has been recognized for her helming of the second season episode of House of Cards, titled “Chapter 22,” and also for the second season premiere episode of Orange is the New Black, titled “Thirsty Bird.” Speaking to Deadline, Foster explained her interest in Orange is the New Black.

“As a director, dramedy is what I do. It’s not who I am as an actor. The genre requires a very specific skill in terms of recognising what is quirky and perverse, and to be moved by it. The female prisoners on ‘Orange Is The New Black’ have a very spiritual journey that’s so complex. They’re all soul-searching and they change through each other.”

The nominations for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Television, Commercials and Documentary come a day after the DGA faced a vocal backlash against its selection of only male nominees for the directing of feature film. The lack of female filmmakers — in particular, Selma director Ava DuVernay — sparked accusations of systemic sexism and racism. Today’s announcement, however, saw nine categories featuring 45 nominated productions — and 11 women in total. Foster, whose nominations are in the Dramatic Series and Comedy Series categories, is the only director to receive two nods from the DGA this year.

The presence of a higher number of women among the nominations for television and documentary than for feature film reflects the trend noted at the Golden Globe Awards on January 11, where the category for Best Series, Musical or Comedy featured four female nominees and one male. In terms of feature films, Selma director Ava DuVernay also received a Golden Globe nomination for her work on the historical drama, though she was not featured on the DGA list released on January 13. Had she received a DGA nomination for her critically acclaimed work, DuVernay would have been the first African-American woman to do so in the history of the organization.

While the argument surrounding female representation during awards season regularly comes under fire as being a distraction from the real issue of a lack of women working creatively within the industry, the stark contrast between the number of nominations for women in film and television categories, respectively, would seem to bear out the findings of a recent study. As reported by Variety, the findings of the Centre for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University show that while the number of women creating television may be at an all-time high, the number of women creating feature films has steadily declined over a period of 17 years.

The 67th Annual DGA Awards will be held on February 7, 2015, with actress Jane Lynch hosting the ceremony.

[Image via Deadline]

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