How Barbra Streisand Was 'Hurt' After Being Left Out of the Oscar Race for Best Director — Twice

In her memoir, the superstar actress and singer reflects on her Academy Award misses for 'Yentl' in 1984 and 'The Prince of Tides' in 1992

Gilbert Carrasquillo/FilmMagic
Gilbert Carrasquillo/FilmMagic

When Oscar nominations come out, they tend to bring lots of big feelings with them. This year sees many history-making nominations, including Lily Gladstone as the first Native American actress to be nominated for an Academy Award. Many other stars are also hoping to hear their name called for their first-ever acting Oscars, including America Ferrera, Emily Blunt, Sterling K. Brown, Jeffrey Wright and Cillian Murphy.

This year, one-third of the 2024 nominees are women, higher than the last three years. Those nominated include Justine Triet for Best Director for Anatomy of a Fall. Triet, 45, is one of eight women to ever be nominated for the category; the three winners include Kathryn Bigelow in 2010 for The Hurt Locker, Chloé Zhao in 2020 for Nomadland and Jane Campion in 2021 for The Power of the Dog.

And yet, it's the misses that tend to make headlines. This year, Greta Gerwig — who is nominated for best adapted screenplay — is not nominated for Best Director. But she's far from alone — Barbra Streisand has been there too.

The singer, 81, reflects on the instances when she was left out of the Academy Award nominations for Best Director in her memoir My Name is Barbra, and the sting still lingers.

<p>Amazon</p> The cover of 'My Name is Barbra' by Barbra Streisand


The cover of 'My Name is Barbra' by Barbra Streisand

When Streisand didn't receive a best director nod for her 1983 now-classic, Yentl, the snub literally made her sick. "I tried to put a brave face on it," she writes. "But the truth is, I was devastated. I came down with the flu and I rarely get sick...Did they reject me because they didn't like the movie? or is it because they didn't like me?"

The omission made waves at the time, with some reviewers suggesting the Academy hadn't nominated Streisand not because of the film's merit, but because of her gender.

Related: Stage Fright, Romance and Elvis: All the Biggest Revelations from Barbra Streisand's New Memoir

Many industry players took sides. Lee Grant told PEOPLE at the time, "[Streisand] really kicked in the door for women with this one, not just opened it." Streisand writes that she couldn't bring herself to attend the Oscars ceremony that year, so she stayed home and watched it on TV instead, noting she was "touched" to see protesters outside the theater standing up for her in her absence.

In 1992, Streisand’s movie, The Prince of Tides, was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Original Score. Streisand starred and directed in the romantic drama about a man (Nick Nolte) who grapples with the trauma of his southern childhood, but was again left out of that year’s nominations for Best Director.

<p>Columbia Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection</p> Barbra Streisand on the set of 'The Prince of Tides' in 1991

Columbia Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection

Barbra Streisand on the set of 'The Prince of Tides' in 1991

“I proved to myself that I could direct a movie with Yentl, and after that whole experience, I wasn’t sure I wanted to do it again,” Streisand writes. “Not being nominated [for The Prince of Tides] hurt even more.”

Related: A History of Female Best Director Nominees at the Academy Awards

At the 1992 Awards, host Billy Crystal sang a parody of “Don’t Rain on My Parade” from Streisand’s 1969 film Funny Girl that called out her missing nomination, and Liza Minnelli and Shirley MacLaine both said that Streisand was “the director we’d most like to work with.”

Streisand won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1969 for her role as Fanny Brice in Funny Girl and for Best Original Song in 1977 for "Evergreen," which was featured in A Star Is Born, making her the first woman to win an Oscar for music composition.

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The first woman to win an Academy Award for directing, however, was Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker. Streisand announced the winners during the 2010 Academy Awards and writes that while she did "feel a little pang," she “happily announced [Bigelow's] name."

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