agnès films Readers Celebrate #DirectedbyWomen Films Snubbed by the Oscars

Developmentally Edited by Alexandra Hidalgo
Copy Edited and Posted by Megan Elias

Another year, another all-male Best Director nomination list at the Oscars.

As award season comes to a close, we at agnès films wanted to know which women-directed films and documentaries, besides those nominated, our readers saw as deserving of attention from the Academy. In other words, we wanted to see who you thought was snubbed by the Academy this year.

No women were nominated for Best Director in 2020, and Little Women was the only film with a woman director nominated for Best Fiction Film.

Women-directed films did fare better in both documentary categories, though. For Best Documentary, American Factory (this year’s winner), For Sama, Honeyland, and The Edge of Democracy were all directed or co-directed by women. In the Short Documentary category, winner Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl); Walk, Run, Cha-Cha; Life Overtakes Me; and St. Louis Superman were all directed or co-directed by women.

We conducted a poll to see which films and documentaries our audience believes are Oscar-worthy. Below are the films you suggested. If you have additions to the list, Tweet us @agnesfilms.

A still from The Farewell, the number-one voted fiction film from our poll

Fiction Films:

1. The Farewell (2019), dir. Lulu Wang
Billi (Awkwafina) and her family return to China under the guise of a wedding to say goodbye to their matriarch, Nai Nai, who does not know she only has a few weeks left to live. Billi struggles with the decision to keep Nai Nai in the dark about her own health. The Farewell is available to rent on Prime Video.

2. Booksmart (2019), dir. Olivia Wilde
High school best friends Molly (Beanie Feldstein) and Amy (Kaitlyn Dever) have worked hard throughout the years to get good grades. On the last night before they graduate, they decide to go out and party, finding themselves and realizing the importance of their friendship along the way. Booksmart is available to watch on Hulu.

3. Hustlers (2019), dir. Lorene Scafaria
While working as a stripper during the 2008 financial crisis, Destiny (Constance Wu) befriends the club’s top earner, Ramona (Jennifer Lopez). A group of women working at the club led by Ramona band together to steal from their rich clients by running up their credit cards and taking the money for themselves in order to support their daughters. Hustlers is available to rent on Prime Video

4. Queen & Slim (2019), dir. Melina Matsoukas
When Queen (Jodie Turner-Smith) and Slim (Daniel Kaluuya) are pulled over for a minor traffic violation, the situation quickly escalates, causing Slim to shoot the white officer in self-defense. A video of the incident goes viral, and they must go on the run, becoming symbols of resistance and love. Queen & Slim is available for preorder on Prime Video. 

5. Honey Boy (2019), dir. Alma Har’el
Honey Boy follows the relationship between child actor Otis (Noah Jupe/Lucas Hedges) and his abusive, alcoholic father James (Shia LaBeouf). Written by Shia LaBeouf about his own experience growing up in Hollywood, this film is an in-depth and honest reflection on the past and how it can affect our mental health. Honey Boy is available to stream on Prime Video.

6. Frozen 2 (2019), dir. Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck
7. Harriet (2019), dir. Kasi Lemmons
8. Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019), dir. Céline Sciamma
9. Captain Marvel (2019), dir. Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck
10. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019), dir. Marielle Heller
11. The Lodge (2019), dir. Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala
12. The Perfect Candidate (2019), dir. Haifaa al-Mansour
13. The Souvenir (2019), dir. Joanna Hogg
14. Clemency (2019), dir. Chinonye Chukwu

Still from One Child Nation, the number-one voted documentary from our poll


1. One Child Nation (2019), dir. Nanfu Wang and Lynn Zhang
After becoming a mother, Nanfu Wang, a filmmaker born during China’s one child policy, looks into how this policy shaped generations of Chinese parents and children. One Child Nation is available to stream on Prime Video.

2. Knock Down the House (2019), dir. Rachel Lears
Four working-class women run for Congress, determined to overthrow the big-money politicians currently in office. Knock Down the House is available to stream on Netflix.

3. The Kingmaker (2019), dir. Lauren Greenfield
The Kingmaker follows the political career of controversial former Philippines First Lady Imelda Marcos as she works to restore her family’s name and image. The Kingmaker is available on Showtime

4. Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins (2019), dir. Janice Engel
Raise Hell tells the story of legendary Texan journalist Molly Ivins as she fights injustice with her pen. The film displays Invins’ famous cutting wit and feminist politics through archival footage and the testimonies of those who loved and miss her. Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins is available to stream on Hulu.

5. Nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up (2019), dir. Tasha Hubbard
We Will Stand Up tells the story of a young Cree boy, Colten Boushie, who was shot in the back of the head and killed. His family struggles to achieve justice after the acquittal of Colten’s killer. Nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up is not yet available to stream.

6. Willie (2019), dir. Laurence Mathieu-Leger
7. Taylor Swift: Miss Americana (2020), dir. Lana Wilson
8. Roll Red Roll (2019), dir. Nancy Schwartzman
9. The Great Hack (2019), dir. Karim Amer and Jehane Noujaim
10. At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal (2019), dir. Erin Lee Carr

You can learn more about Kara by visiting her profile.