The American movie mainstream needs a revolution — and if some women have their way, it just might get one. It’s time. Not because Ava DuVernaywasn’t tapped as a best director in the recent Academy Award nominations, even though her acclaimed movie “Selma” received a best picture nod. There has been a lot of speculation about the snub, but the reasons are less crucial than the message that the largely white, male directors in the Academy sent: This woman doesn’t deserve credit for her own movie. Women in film are routinely denied jobs, credits, prizes and equal pay, so the rebuke was familiar. That’s because while individual men struggle in the industry, women struggle as a group.
The outrage over the Oscar nominations has been welcome even if the problem isn’t the Academy Awards but a blinkered, fossilized industry that offers so few opportunities to women and minorities. Ms. DuVernay is one of the few female directors to make the leap into the major studio world. While it’s disappointing that she wasn’t nominated, she made a great movie and is going to keep directing without the permission of the mainstream old guard. The good news is that she won’t be alone. Increasing numbers of people — if mostly women — are pushing back hard at the industry’s biases. And they’re pushing back publicly, a gutsy stance in an industry that runs on secrets, lies and fear.