EXCLUSIVE: ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ Director Reed Morano Calls 3 Female Nominees in Her Category 'Progress’

by Stacy Lambe 3:15 PM PDT, July 14, 2017
Photo: Hulu

The Handmaid’s Tale director Reed Morano is one of three women nominated for Outstanding Director for a Drama Series at the 69th Primetime Emmys. The other two are Kate Dennis, also recognized for The Handmaid’s Tale, and Lesli Linka Glatter for Homeland.

It’s the first time three women have been nominated in the category in the same year since 2010, when Glatter was recognized alongside Agnieszka Holland and Michelle MacLaren. Of course, they’re joined by men -- Vince Gilligan (Better Call Saul), Stephen Daldry (The Crown), The Duffer Brothers (Stranger Things) and Jonathan Nolan (Westworld) -- who fill out the category’s seven spots.

EMMYS 2017: The Complete List of Nominees

“You definitely get a sense of progress that more women are getting their shot,” Morano, who is also nominated for Outstanding Cinematography for her work on HBO’s Divorce, tells ET of the significance of the three women’s nominations, while shutting down the idea that gender influences anyone’s storytelling capabilities. “It’s an individual thing. There are women who can do more masculine storytelling than some men.” 

While her field saw progress, there were few other women recognized for directing. After winning back-to-back Emmys for Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series, Jill Soloway was shut out and Jamie Babbit was the only woman nominated for her work on Silicon Valley. The only other category featuring female nominees is Outstanding Directing for a Nonfiction Program with Elizabeth White (Planet Earth II) and Ava DuVernay (13th) vying for a trophy.

Acknowledging the fact that she’s the only woman nominated in her cinematography category, Morano says it’s about creating an equal playing field. “If enough people were to actually give women a shot to exercise their voice, they would see there’s probably a whole gamut of what women can do that’s equal to what [men can do].”

“It makes me feel like we’re getting closer, that [the field] will be saturated equally with men and women and it won’t be such a big thing, maybe, in 10 years from now,” Morano continues. “It’s taking a long time.”

As for her work on the Hulu series, which earned 13 nominations total, the director is just happy it all landed with critics and fans alike. “It’s rare when everything comes together and works so well,” she says. “It's such a surprise because sometimes you can make something you love so much, but whatever it is, for unexplained reasons, it might not resonate with everybody else as much as it does with the people who made it. It's really crazy and wonderful that people appreciated the show so much.”