Barbra Streisand has claimed sexism cost her Oscar nominations because even just two decades ago people weren’t comfortable with the idea of a female director.
Speaking at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York, the Hollywood icon said it wasn’t just men who were hostile towards her directing credentials.
“I don’t know how many women wanted to see a woman director,” the 75-year-old said during a fiery Q&A with filmmaker Robert Rodriguez.
To back up her claims, Streisand said female critics were often harsher than their male colleagues when it came to reviewing Yentl – a film about a Jewish woman in early 20th century Poland who disguises herself as a man to continue her religious education.
“None of [the women] talked about what the movie was trying to say,” Streisand said. “It was not about what the movie was about – a celebration of women and all they could be.”
Yentl snapped up five Oscar nominations, but did not receive nominations for any of the major categories such as best director or best picture.
Steisand said her experience with Yentl was part of the reason why she waited almost a decade to release her next major film, The Prince of Tides.
The Prince of Tides is a romantic drama about a man who moves to New York and falls in love with his sister’s psychiatrist, only to turn his back on his potential future with her and return to his wife and children.
The film was nominated for seven Oscars, but – like Yentl – Streisand missed out on a nod for best director.
“I must have been more hurt than I thought, because I didn’t want to direct for years,” she said. “I directed because I couldn’t be heard.”
The Academy Awards have come under fire in recent years due to accusations of ingrained racism and sexism. This year, there was not a single woman nominated for best director or original screenplay.