Barbra Streisand: Sexism Cost Me My Oscar Nominations

Barbra Streisand stated during an interview at the Tribeca Film Festival that it was sexism that cost her an Oscar nomination for The Prince of Tides and Yentl. And, she said, it’s not only men who prefer to have a male calling the shots on major motion pictures.

She spoke with fellow director Robert Rodriguez, saying there are very few women who want to see a female director.

Page Six reported that Streisand believes competitiveness and jealousy are partly responsible for women turning on women.

She pointed out that, when it came to Yentl, female critics were much harsher than male critics. And today, 30-years after the release of Yentl, a review by Janet Maslin, a former New York Times critic, still rankles Streisand. She’s still offended by Maslin’s reference to her use of a “pillbox-contoured designer yarmulke” in the film. And, according to Barbra, the yarmulke was authentic to the films early 20th-century Polish setting.

“None of the female critics talked about what the movie was trying to say. It was not about what the movie was about — a celebration of women and all they could be.”

The Prince of Tides was a drama film about an emotionally damaged man who falls in love with his psychiatrist. The film won seven nominations including Film of the Year.

Meanwhile, Yentl is the story of a woman who dresses as a man to study Talmudic Law. The film was nominated for five Oscars but missed out on the Best Picture award.

Even though eight years separated these two films, Streisand’s name was left off the Best Director shortlist. She says that being snubbed for Yentl probably had something to do with her long hiatus, even though she was pleased that being overlooked focused attention on discrimination towards women.

“I must have been more hurt than I thought, because I didn’t want to direct for years.”

Robert Rodriguez is a Mexican director, perhaps best known for action movies like El Mariachi. Rodriguez said he’s always been a huge fan of Streisand’s work, saying she gave him the courage to break into movies.

“[Streisand] inspired me to go into an industry where I felt I didn’t have a voice.”

Rodrigues believes that Streisand shattered the glass ceiling for other female filmmakers, but Streisand says that there are still not enough women directing now.

“I love when I see a woman’s name on the film, and then I want to see it be good.”

Originally, Streisand was happy to focus on acting and recording, but during the making of The Way We Were in 1973, arguments with Sydney Pollack forced her to look in a different direction. She said she was horrified when she saw scenes explaining the disintegration of her on-screen relationship with Robert Redford’s character lying on the cutting room floor.

“I directed because I couldn’t be heard.”

Page Six also reported that Barbara Streisand blames sexism for Hillary Clinton’s election loss. Streisand was a very open Hillary Clinton supporter, and she firmly believes the candidate lost because of sexism.

“Women are still so underestimated; it’s incredible to watch even this last election with Hillary, the kind of strong woman, the powerful woman, the educated woman, the experienced woman, being thought of as the other, or too elite, or too educated. It’s very, very odd to me, and it was heartbreaking for her to lose. Power and woman has always been suspect. Strong women have always been suspect in this country.”

Streisand offered her time during Hillary’s campaign to several fundraising events, and has been far from silent about her dislike of President Donald Trump.

Entertainment Weekly reported that five days after her 75th birthday, the amazing Barbra Streisand walked on stage to a very loud standing ovation at the Tribeca Film Festival. She stepped out on the arm of fellow director Robert Rodriguez, who has been responsible for an entirely different type of films: action and horror films like From Dusk till Dawn, Sin City, Spy Kids, and El Mariachi.

Rodrigues was Streisand’s self-appointed interviewer for the last of 2017 Tribeca’s Storytellers series, and it was very clear to the audience that Rodriguez was completely star-struck by Streisand.

The 48-year-old Texas-based director began by explaining the reason behind his presence onstage with the “singing and acting icon.”

“This speaks volumes about the widespread appeal of Barbra Streisand. I grew up in a large Hispanic family of 10 kids in San Antonio, Texas. And in our household, there simply was no bigger star than Barbra Streisand. My mom talked to us 10 children about God and about Barbra Streisand. After all these years, I don’t remember any Bible stories, but I remember all the Barbra Streisand stories.”

Rodriguez admitted that he has never been as star-struck by another human being in his life and that he recently took his mother to see Streisand perform in Texas.

“We went into Barbra’s dressing room after the show, and Barbra sat and basically interviewed my parents for 45 minutes. It was ‘Barbra After Hours.'”

During the hour-long onstage interview, Rodrigues stated that he believed Streisand is the greatest entertainer of all time. He also noted that she’s a very opinionated woman in a male-dominated film industry.

Streisand recalled that, after filming wrapped on Funny Girl, her first film, for which she won a best actress Oscar in 1969, the movie’s Director, William Wyler, presented her with a megaphone and a note that read, “Congratulations on directing your first film.”

Streisand said she loved every minute of working on that movie, but she also learned how to dislike the press.

“Because every time I had a suggestion, it was put in the paper as if we were fighting or something. I always had opinions and opinions in the 60s were not popular for women.”

However, it was the movie in which she starred with Robert Redford, The Way We Were, and controversial decisions made by director Sydney Polak, that made her decide to become a director.

Although Yentl received five Oscar nominations, Barbra Streisand admits she was broadsided by some of the film’s bad reviews. She was particularly annoyed by female critics who criticized her directorial debut.

Asked whether it’s hard to direct herself in a movie, Streisand responded, “no,” for one simple reason.

“Because there’s less people to argue with.”

The Prince of Tides scored seven Oscar nominations including Best Picture, but there was no nomination for Streisand’s directing.

“Of course it’s a f***ing snub,” Rodriguez said.

As Barbra explained, there are a lot of older directors who don’t want to see a female director; and, there are not many women who want to see a movie with a female director. It’s all about competition and perhaps a little jealousy. She believes very strongly that there are not enough women directing today.

[Featured Image by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images]

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