Writer Shonda Rhimes was given the Diversity Award at the 2014 Directors Guild of America Awards this weekend. Best known for her work on Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, Rhimes shares the award with Grey’s Anatomy producer Betsy Beers. The Diversity Award is given to individuals in recognition of their efforts to hire women and minority in DGA categories. Good idea, perhaps. Except the award points out an Affirmative Action hiring issues. Rhimes accepted the award, but was quick to speak the stinging truth about it.
“I was also a little pissed off,” she said at the podium, saying the "win" reminded her of an old room mate and friend who expected praise for doing the dishes. “[I said] this is not special, what you are doing. You should be washing the dishes. I’m not going to applaud and give you an award for something you should be doing. That is how Betsy and I feel about this award,” she continued. “There shouldn’t need to be an award. It’s very shocking to us that there is much of this lack of diversity in Hollywood in 2014.”
The Diversity Award has only been given out four times, and this is the first time it was given to a woman or an African American. Steve McQueen was nominated in the Outstanding Directional Achievement for 12 Years a Slave, but no other African Americans were nominated in any category. While Latino director Alphonso Cuaron won the top DGA award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement for Gravity.
Though the event was largely a celebration of white males in film, five women were honored at the DGA Awards. In addition to Rhimes and Beers receiving the Diversity Award were Beth McCarthy-Miller, who got the award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in a Comedy Series for 30 Rock. Amy Schatz won Outstanding Directorial Achievement in a Children's Program for HBO's An Apology for Elephants. And Jehene Noujaim won the award for Outstanding Achievement in a Documentary for the Netflix program The Square.