The Woman King Director Gina Prince-Bythewood Gets Real About Oscar Snubs: ‘I’ll Never Get Over It’

Viola Davis and Gina Pince0Bythewood talking on the set of The Woman King
(Image credit: Sony)

Awards Season is coming to a close, with everything leading to this weekend’s Academy Awards ceremony. Cinephiles are eager to see which projects will be snatching trophies, although there are a number that don’t have a chance thanks to being snubbed of nominations. One such project is Viola Davis’ The Woman King, which earned the actress a number of other major nods. But the Oscars shut the movie out, with director Gina Prince-Bythewood getting real about the snub, saying “I’ll never get over it.”

Gina Prince-Bythewood an acclaimed director and screenwriter, who has worked on notable projects like Love & Basketball, and Netflix’s wildly popular original The Old Guard. And while The Woman King was critically acclaimed and got a number of major awards and nominations, it got shut out of the Academy Awards. Prince-Bythewood recently spoke to People about this, sharing her true feelings with:

I'll never get over it, because what happened was egregious and ... it speaks to such a bigger issue in our industry. 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. So we always keep that energy no matter what happens.

There you have it. I have to admire Gina Prince-Bythewood’s vulnerability in this moment, and her honesty in the midst of Awards Season. But given just how otherwise acclaimed The Woman King has been, it definitely turned heads when not even she or Viola Davis were nominated for an Oscar. But don’t worry, that’s not going to stop the Emmy-nominated filmmaker from moving forward and inspiring more change.

Gina Prince-Bythewood’s comments to People came from Icon Mann's pre-Oscar dinner at Waldorf Astoria. She spoke candidly about The Woman King being totally snubbed from the Academy Awards nominations, despite being recognized so many other times throughout Awards Season. And for her, it seems to indicate a larger problem with the industry as a whole. 

Indeed, this discourse seems to stem from the ongoing conversation about representation within the film world. The #OscarsSoWhite movement pointed out how often major nominees are exclusively caucasian, and there has indeed been some positive change in that regard. But Gina Prince-Bythewood seems to think that The Woman King’s shut out proves there’s more work to be done. 

The Woman King debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival, with the cast and crew being praised for the epic story, thrilling action sequences, and gorgeous production design. It seemed like an Awards Season darling, especially for Viola Davis who became a bonafide action star in addition to carrying the movie’s emotional story. But alas, the Oscars was not kind to that movie. Other notable snubs include Jordan Peele’s Nope and Tom Cruise for Best Actor.

The Woman King is streaming now on Netflix. Be sure to check out the 2023 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience. 

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.