Here's How the 2020 Golden Globe Awards Addressed the All-Male Best Director Category

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Greta Gerwig, Marielle Heller and Lulu Wang were just a few of the acclaimed female directors overlooked at this year's Globes.

The Golden Globes always bring plenty of surprises and the 2020 ceremony was no different.

This year's awards season has stirred up some familiar controversy, beginning with the snubs in the Globes' nominations. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association kept with its tradition of doling out a few stunners on nominations morning -- and also continued the disappointing trend of snubbing female directors. This year's nominations saw several women whose films were nominated in other categories overlooked in favor of their male counterparts. 

Host Ricky Gervais addressed the snubs ahead of the Best Director category during Sunday's awards show. "No female directors were nominated this year. No one. I mean, that's bad," he announced. "I've had a word with the Hollywood Foreign Press, and they've guaranteed that will never happen again."

"Working with all the major studios, they've agreed to go back to the way things were a few years ago, when they didn't even hire women directors and that will solve the problem. You're welcome," he concluded, to a smattering of applause and a few laughs.

When ET spoke with Greta Gerwig at the Palm Springs International Film Festival, ahead of the Globes, she was taking a "glass half full approach" to female accomplishments in cinema in recent years -- despite the continued dearth of nominations.

"What I am heartened by is how many beautiful films were directed by women and what impact it's making on the industry," she noted. "They just came out with another Annenberg study that said there are more films this year directed by women than any other year, and it's looking to improve again for 2020 and 2021."

However, even Gerwig, the most recent female Best Director nominee at the Oscars -- for 2017's Lady Bird -- couldn't crack the category. Her buzzed-about adaptation of Little Women was shut out of all nominations except for nods for lead actress Saoirse Ronan and composer Alexandre Desplat.

Marielle Heller, who topped snub lists last year for her acclaimed Melissa McCarthy starrer Can You Ever Forgive Me?, was overlooked once again this year for her acclaimed Mister Rogers film, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhoodwhich did earn a nomination for supporting star Tom Hanks as the beloved children's TV host.

Lorene Scafaria's Hustlers scored the rare combination of critical praise and commercial success, earning rave reviews and the highest-ever box office debut for a film starring a woman of color. Similar to Heller, Scafaria's film scored a Golden Globes supporting acting nom for Jennifer Lopez's outstanding turn as Ramona, but didn't earn any praise for the creative mind behind the camera.

Lulu Wang and Celine Sciamma both landed Golden Globe recognition in the Best Foreign Language Film, for The Farewell and Portrait of a Lady on Fire, respectively, but neither was nominated for Best Director. And Ava DuVernay -- the most recent female Best Director nominee at the Globes, for 2015's Selma -- saw perhaps the biggest snub on the TV side, as her Netflix miniseries, When They See Uswas entirely shut out of nominations despite recent recognition from the Emmys and Critics Choice Awards.

Other female directors who made acclaimed films eligible in the category this year include Melina Matsoukas for Queen & Slim, Mati Diop for Atlantics, Olivia Wilde for Booksmart, Chinonye Chukwu for Clemency, Jennifer Kent for The Nightingale, Nia DaCosta for Little Woods, Nisha Ganatra for Late Night, Claire Denis for High Life, Gurinder Chadha for Blinded by the Light, Joanna Hogg for The Souvenir and Alma Har'el for Honey Boy.

It's nothing new for female filmmakers -- in the history of the Golden Globes, there have only been four female Best Director nominees, with Barbra Streisand being the only one to win, in 1983, for Yentl. (The statistics are almost exactly the same at the Oscars: five nominees and just one win, Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker in 2009.)

This year's "all-male nominees" for Best Director (thank you, Natalie Portman) do include a few first-time faces. After winning the Palm d'Or at Cannes earlier this year, Bong Joon-ho scored his first major American film award recognition for Parasite, which was also nominated for Best Screenplay and Best Foreign Language Film. Joker director Todd Phillips previously won a Golden Globe as a producer on The Hangover, but this is his first nod for directing.

And all the rest are regulars. Martin Scorsese's nomination for The Irishman is his ninth Best Director nod -- he's won three Globes in the category: for Gangs of New York in 2002, The Departed in 2006 and Hugo in 2011. Tarantino's nod for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is his fourth as Best Director, though he's never won, and this year's winner, Mendes, scored his third nomination and second win in the category after winning in 1999 for American Beauty.

Check out all of ET's awards season coverage and see more on the 2020 Golden Globes in the video below.