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03/01/2018 16:22 EST | Updated 03/01/2018 16:22 EST

5 Female-Directed Films Of 2017 That Should Have Been Nominated For An Oscar

Once again, the 2018 Academy Awards nominees are mostly men.

Sareum Srey Moch plays Loung Ung in "First They Killed My Father."
Netflix
Sareum Srey Moch plays Loung Ung in "First They Killed My Father."

We don't have to tell you there's a lack of representation in Hollywood — both in front of and behind the cameras. The problem has been in the spotlight for years, which is why critics and Hollywood stars say it's so important for the industry to start making changes and recognize minorities who are already doing great work in the business.

The 90th Academy Awards is the perfect occasion to give credit where it's due. While there are some noteworthy female nominations — Mary J. Blige, for instance, received her first two Oscar nods for supporting actress and original song for "Mudbound" and Rachel Morrison became the first woman to be nominated for cinematography for the same film — the entertainment business can still do better.

This year, Greta Gerwig is the only woman to be nominated in the best director category, finally putting an end to an eight-year all-male streak, Fast Company reports. However, she is only the fifth woman in Oscar history to be given this nomination, and her film "Lady Bird" is only the 13th female-directed movie to be up for best picture, according to USA Today.

So to show some love to the ladies of Hollywood and prove that there is an abundance of female talent, here are five female-directed films of 2017 that should have been nominated for an Oscar this year.

1. "First They Killed My Father"

Directed by: Angelina Jolie

Angelina Jolie chose to tackle the Cambodian genocide for her third directorial project. Based on a memoir of the same name, the true story follows Loung Ung, who was only five years old when the Khmer Rouge took power in Cambodia in 1975 and tore her family apart.

Not only is the film powerfully moving — especially since it's told through the eyes of a child — but it tells a story Hollywood has not yet seen. It gives a voice to Cambodians and a platform for them to share their historical experience with the world.

"I made it for Cambodia," Jolie previously told Screen Daily. "I made it as a kind of thank you, a love letter. There hadn't been a story on this scale that would reach people in their language, with them being the hero."

And if the film's important subject matter isn't enough to convince you that Jolie's work is Oscar-worthy, the stellar acting by the children, especially nine-year-old star Sareum Srey Moch, will surely sell you.

2. "Battle of the Sexes"

Directed by: Valerie Faris & Jonathan Dayton

This film could not be timelier as gender parity continues to be a hot topic. "Battle of the Sexes" is about the epic 1973 tennis showdown between Billie Jean King (played by Emma Stone) and Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell). King, a feminist, was fighting for equal pay at the time, and her match with Riggs helped bring discussions about gender equality to the forefront.

Although the film and its stars did not receive any Oscar nods, directors Faris and Dayton deserve recognition for inspiring viewers with this uplifting story.

Plus, Stone's portrayal of King also deserves a nod, as the 29-year-old managed to make this real-life hero accessible to a younger generation and managed to take her career to the next level following last year's Oscar win for Best Actress in "La La Land."

As Vulture noted, the actress' "performance doesn't feel repetitive; instead, it's an acknowledgment that she's ready to graduate to more adult roles."

3. "The Zookeeper's Wife"

Directed by: Niki Caro

First of all, let's clap it out for "The Zookeeper's Wife" for having a "largely female crew."

"I've never been on a set with so many women," star Jessica Chastain wrote in an essay for The Hollywood Reporter in 2015. "We're not even 50 per cent of the crew — we're probably something like 20 per cent women and 80 per cent men — but it's way more than I've ever worked with on a film before."

Chastain also pointed out that the book-to-movie project is female-centric, as the story was written by a woman (novelist Diane Ackerman), features a female protagonist and was directed by a woman, too.

The film tells the real-life story of how Antonina Żabiński and her husband, Jan, helped save 300 Jews when the Nazis invaded Poland in 1939.

The story is a testament to the strength and power of women, and its crew reflects that as well. "The Zookeeper's Wife" deserves an Oscar nod not just for that, but for also delivering a powerful and memorable story.

4. "A United Kingdom"

Directed by: Amma Asante

This film has it all: a powerful story, stellar acting and gorgeous cinematography.

Like the other films, this is another movie based on true events. Set in the 1940s, the historical drama tells the love story between Prince Seretse Khama of Botswana and Ruth Williams, a white British woman, who risked everything — including their families — to be together.

The film explores themes of prejudice, injustice and family ties, which isn't surprising considering director Amma Asante's other work, "Belle" and "Where Hands Touch," also touch on race. The way Asante addresses race and culture clash in this film make it all the more relevant, proving it should have been an Oscar contender this year.

5. "Wonder Woman"

Directed by: Patty Jenkins

This one is a given. Considering how much buzz this film produced among kids and adults alike, its message of empowerment during the #MeToo era, and its stellar box office ratings (it's the highest grossing live-action film directed by a woman), it's not hard to see why "Wonder Woman" deserves a nomination.

While the film's star Gal Gadot gave a humble response to the movie's shutout at the Oscars — "We certainly never did the movie for that," she told Entertainment Tonight — fans can't help but feel disappointed. After all, a film that did so much for pop culture (and for women) surely deserves to a little recognition.

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