Were women ‘snubbed’ again at the Oscars? Syracuse University professor and screenwriting student weigh in

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SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — A tremendous talent was honored at the 92nd Academy Awards, but one of the most notable takeaways from the nominations was the lack of women in the running for best director. They were all men.

Names like Lulu Wang, Kasi Lemmons, and Greta Gerwig, director of “Little Women,” which was up for best picture, were all ignored.

Chloe Mathieu is a senior at Syracuse University. She’s spent the past four years learning the ins and outs of screenwriting. While her eyes are locked in on a future in film, she can’t ignore the present.

“After the Oscar noms came out everybody was outraged and it was kind of a collective outrage of people going, ‘well where are the women what happened here?'” said Mathieu.

The five nominations for best director were all men for the second year in a row.

It’s a reality Newhouse Professor Bob Thompson calls discouraging. “This time there were certainly some women directors who I think we expected to see in those nominations, uh hence the word uh snubbed,” said Thompson.

The change, they believe, has to start long before award shows.

“It’s starting at creating an environment where you’ve got equality of people in executive ranks, who buy and fund these films,” said Thompson.

It’s about learning how to stand out in an industry Thompson calls historically, an “old boys club.”

“As a woman, you have to speak a little bit louder and assert yourself a little bit more,” said Mathieu. “You hear a lot from professors, like write what you know and everyone knows different things, has had different experiences.”

Those experiences mixed with Mathieu’s passion is how she plans on having her voice heard.

“If you can say something in a new or exciting way or represent somebody on-screen that maybe hasn’t seen themselves on screen before, that’s the end goal,” said Mathieu.

“Then it’s a matter of competing with all those other people who also got good educations at Ithaca, and USC, and UCLA,” said Thompson.

A lot of them will be women. In fact, Thompson has significantly more women in his master’s classes than men, which is why this year’s male-dominant Oscar nominations were so shocking.

“You don’t need me to tell you that some of those films, you can go a long time before you see a female character in them,” said Thompson.

It’s a conversation Thompson encourages people to keep having because until there’s more equality within who’s making and paying for these films, he doesn’t see a major change hitting award shows.

“It’s scary to go into an industry where there’s kind of that precedent of male dominance,” said Mathieu. What’s even scarier though, is not going after your dream.

“Keep going, keep trying, get used to hearing no and being ok with hearing no,” said Mathieu.

For more local news, follow Nicole Sommavilla on Twitter @NeSommavilla

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