Gina Prince-Bythewood reacts to The Woman King receiving no Oscar nominations

Gina Prince-Bythewood believes Hollywood has taken its foot “off the gas” when it comes to progress with diversity and inclusion.

Gina Prince-Bythewood has responded to her movie The Woman King getting shut out of the 2023 Oscar nominations.

The historical epic was widely expected to receive at least one Academy Award nomination for its leading lady Viola Davis, while it also had an outside chance of Best Picture, Best Director and several technical nods. However, it ultimately received zero.

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter about the shutout, Prince-Bythewood admitted she was “disappointed” for the whole Woman King team that the film’s critical and commercial success didn’t translate to votes from Academy members.

“The Academy made a very loud statement, and for me to stay quiet is to accept that statement,” she said. “The Woman King wasn’t snubbed. A snub is if it missed out on a category or two… It’s not a snub. It’s a reflection of where the Academy stands and the consistent chasm between Black excellence and recognition.”

The Old Guard filmmaker claimed that she was “struck by” the amount of Academy members who didn’t want to see The Woman King, even though it should be their responsibility to see all films up for consideration during awards season.

“There are those who say to Black filmmakers, ‘Why do you care about awards? Why do you care about validation from a white organization?’ And that’s the thing. The Academy and the guilds should not be thought of as white institutions,” she shared. “They’re supposed to be made up of our peers. They’re not. They don’t represent the whole filmmaking community. But what awards give you is currency. They impact your standing. They impact the box office. They impact the steps you take in this industry.”

The Love & Basketball director revealed there is “a palpable feeling of exhaustion” among Black creatives because they get the sense that Hollywood is taking its “foot off the gas” in terms of progress with diversity and inclusion.

“It’s a difficult thing to know, for every Black filmmaker and definitely every Black female filmmaker, that your work is not valued in the same way,” she stated. “This is a systemic American problem, which is why this felt so insidious and large. It’s tough to enter something that’s supposed to be judged on merit, but you know it’s not a meritocracy. I want our industry to be better.”

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