No matter who comes away with medallions from the Directors Guild of America's best-directing awards Saturday night, the DGA Women's Steering Committee feels that it has won a victory.
"Women directors comprise 7% of the director membership of the DGA, and yet the quality of their work has gathered 24% of the best-director nominations," says Kate Quillan, spokeswoman for the Women's Steering Committee.
Of the 25 directors nominated for DGA awards this year, six are women:
Randa Haines, for "Children of a Lesser God" in the features category; Lee Grant, for the TV movie "Nobody's Child" in the dramatic TV specials category; Catlin Adams, for "Wanted: One Perfect Guy," and Leslie B. Hill, for "God, the Universe and Hot Fudge Sundaes" in the category for daytime drama on TV, and, in the documentary/actuality category, Perry Miller Adato for "Eugene O'Neill: The Glory of Ghosts," and Kyle Good for "48 Hours on Crack Street".
Last year, no women were nominated in any of the DGA's eight categories, which also include comedy series, dramatic nighttime, musical/variety and sports.
Haines is the first American woman to receive a DGA nomination for directing a feature. The only other woman, Italian Lina Wertmuller, was nominated for "Seven Beauties" in 1976.
Commenting further on the success of women who direct, Quillan says, "As far as the Women's Steering Committee is concerned, these statistics are absolutely the best kind of statement that can be made to producers for equal opportunities for women."
Current DGA membership figures list 344 women as directors, up from 199 in 1981 and 10 in 1960.
Over the 38 years of DGA award-giving, only three women have received awards. Perry Miller Adato won three times for documentaries in 1977, 1980 and 1982. Sharron Miller (1983) and Joan Darling (1984) each won once in the dramatic daytime category for TV.
"The nominations for best director come from the general membership, which is predominantly male," Quillan says. "It's obvious that the general membership is sensitive to talent and is recognizing and nominating quality directorial work regardless of sex."