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‘I’ll never get over it’: The Woman King director Gina Prince-Bythewood on ‘egregious’ Oscars snub

The Woman King director Gina Prince-Bythewood has said that she will “never get over” the film’s “egregious” snub at the Oscars.

Starring Viola Davis as the fictionalised leader of the real-life Agojie tribe, the film follows an elite unit of all-female warriors active in the historical kingdom of Dahomey. Thuso Mbedu, Lashana Lynch and Sheila Atim also star.

The film secured nominations at the Golden Globes, Baftas and SAG Awards, with Davis picking up a Best Actress nomination at all three shows.

However, when the Oscar nominations rolled around, not only was Davis not nominated in the Best Actress category, but the film failed to pick up a single nod.

Speaking to People, Prince-Bythewood said that the snubbing of The Woman King by the Academy reflected a “bigger issue” within the film industry.

“I’ll never get over it, because what happened was egregious and... it speaks to such a bigger issue in our industry,” she said.

“But [it also speaks to] who I am, the people around me, these actors. We will never take our foot off the gas. We’re ready to do something next. We’re ready to do something as big. We’re ready to do something together.”

The director added that the team behind the film would “always keep that energy, no matter what happens”.

Viola Davis and John Boyega in ‘The Woman King’ (Sony Pictures Entertainment)
Viola Davis and John Boyega in ‘The Woman King’ (Sony Pictures Entertainment)

The Independent has contacted the Oscars for comment.

It’s not the first time Prince-Bythewood has criticised the lack of Oscar nominations for The Woman King, writing in The Hollywood Reporter in February that “this awards season was an eye-opener”.

“I’ve gotten so many texts and emails from people in the industry outraged by the Oscar nominations,” she said. “Of course I’m disappointed. Who wouldn’t be?”

In her four-star review, The Independent’s Clarisse Loughrey called The Woman King “a vibrant, restorative celebration of Black womanhood in all its glory”.