Director Gina Prince-Bythewood, pictured left with Viola Davis, is still upset over The Woman King‘s Oscar snub this year. The Academy voters likely believed The Woman King was a good piece of fiction, but not worthy of an Oscar nomination.
The Woman King, written by two Caucasian women, starred Davis, 57, as a post-menopausal female African “king” who leads a band of female warriors against male slave traders.
Prince-Bythewood opened up about her film not getting an Oscar nod despite success at the box office.
“I’ll never get over it, because what happened was egregious and … it speaks to such a bigger issue in our industry,” Prince-Bythewood told PEOPLE at Icon Mann’s pre-Oscar dinner at Waldorf Astoria on Wednesday night.
“But [it also speaks to] who I am, the people around me, these actors,” she added, referring to the film’s stars, Viola Davis and Sheila Atim. “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.”
In February, the 53-year-old director told The Hollywood Reporter, “I’ve gotten so many texts and emails from people in the industry outraged by the Oscar nominations. Of course I’m disappointed. Who wouldn’t be? Especially because there was so much love for our film.”
She said the Oscar snub won’t stop her from making more films about women kings.
“Not only does The Woman King exist in the world, but it’s a success in the world… So our film made money and clearly had a cultural impact, which is what we all hoped for,” she said.
“But the Academy made a very loud statement, and for me to stay quiet is to accept that statement,” she added. “So I agreed to speak up, on behalf of Black women whose work has been dismissed in the past, is dismissed now like Alice Diop and Saint Omer, Chinonye Chukwu and Till — and for those who haven’t even stepped on a set yet.”