This post contains minor BoJack Horseman spoilers.
When it isn’t too busy exploring both the giddy highs and incredibly bleak lows of human existence, Netflix’s BoJack Horseman is also an unparalleled Hollywood—that is, Hollywoo—satire. Its spot-on show business irony is never sharper than in the season-three episode “It’s You.”
Mr. Peanutbutter (Paul F. Tompkins) is invited to announce the Academy Award nominations. When he loses the envelope containing their names, because of course he does, he and Todd (Aaron Paul) must scramble to come up with their own nominees instead.
This gambit is ripe for sight gags, which the show takes full advantage of—most of Todd and Mr. Peanutbutter’s proposed nominees aren’t mentioned aloud, but they’re written in plain sight on a dry-erase board for eagle-eyed viewers to spot.
Direct your attention to the Best Director section of the board and you might notice something interesting. They’re all women. And quite a diverse group of women, at that: Nicole Holofcener (Enough Said), Ava DuVernay (who was snubbed in 2015 when she went unrecognized for Selma—and recently became the first-ever black woman tapped to direct a movie with a $100 million budget), Gina Prince-Bythewood (Love & Basketball), Mary Harron (American Psycho), and Ana Lily Amirpour (A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night).
In real life, may we remind you, a woman hasn’t been nominated for directing in an unthinkable six years. In fact, only four female directors have ever earned an Oscar nod: Kathryn Bigelow (who became the only woman ever to win Best Director in 2010), Sofia Coppola, Jane Campion, and Lina Wertmüller. A woman of color has never been recognized in this category. If it’s this easy for a TV show to come up with five fabulously talented female directors to serve a punchline, why can’t the industry be bothered to give women more work and more (deserved) acclaim?
Through similar sight gags, BoJack also manages to mock the ongoing #OscarsSoWhite debacle that has seen no non-white performers nominated for an acting Oscar for two consecutive years: The first entry on their Best Actor list is a crossed-out “
Black people?” Meanwhile, the 10 Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress nods are equally predictable: six go to Jennifer Lawrence (not counting one to Jennifer Jason Lawrence), two to Cate Blanchett, and one to Kate Winslet. Well played, Mr. Peanutbutter.