Emmy Nominations Show Increasing Gender Equality in TV Directing
3:00 pm, July 19th | by Grace Rasmus
To take my mind off the tragedy of Corey Stoll‘s snub for his role as Peter Russo on House of Cards, I’m going to focus on some positive things about the list of Emmy nominees; as an extra challenge, let’s see if I can keep it super relevant by finding positives that apply specifically to young, working women! Okay, here we go.
First of all, HoC and Arrested Development‘s fourth season were both nominated, which is cool news in that it somewhat legitimizes the millennial Netflix obsession. Secondly, career-centric TV shows like Scandal, Mad Men, Veep, 30 Rock, Breaking Bad (cooking meth is kind of a career, right?), and Parks and Recreation are center-stage this year. And finally, possibly (read: definitely) the best news of all: for the third time in Primetime Emmy history (and for the third time in the last four years), a majority of the directing nominees are women.
In this year’s Outstanding Direction For a Comedy Series category, Lena Dunham received a directing nod for Girls‘ “On All Fours,” Gail Mancuso was nominated for Modern Family‘s “Arrested,” and Beth McCarthy-Miller was nominated for 30 Rock‘s “Hogcock! / Last Lunch.” This is the second Emmy directing nomination for both Dunham and Mancuso, and the eighth for McCarthy-Miller. None of these women have won a directing Emmy before, and only one female, Betty Davis for 1993′s Dream On, has ever taken home the Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series award.
As feminists, activists, and those in the industry have been raising their voices about the dearth of women (both onscreen and off) in TV and movies for years, having an institution like the Emmys acknowledge women’s contributions is refreshing. However, women working behind the camera are still few and far between: only four women have ever been nominated for a Best Director Oscar, and only one (Kathryn Bigelow) has ever taken home the award.
It’s interesting to note that the same women seem to be getting recognized year after year. For example, on the Drama Series side, Michelle MacLaren received her third directing nomination for Breaking Bad, and Lesli Linka Glatter received her second (for Homeland). In the Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie, or a Dramatic Special category, Allison Anders was nominated for Lifetime’s Ring of Fire and Jane Campion was nominated for Top of the Lake. Rory Kennedy was nominated for a second time in the Director for Nonfiction Programming category for her HBO documentary Ethel. We love that increasing numbers of women are being nominated, but can we get some diversity here?