I’ve been wondering when someone was going to bring this up. Turns out Women & Hollywood is on the case, riffing off of a letter written to the HFPA to get Loveleen Tandan’s name as co-director on the ballot. IMDb lists Tandan’s name along with Danny Boyle’s yet she is never given any credit — Boyle is winning the awards, Tandan is not.
If you look back to last year’s Academy Awards nominations the Coen Brothers are both given a directed by credit (and won) for No Country for Old Men. And in 2006 Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris are also both given directed by credits for Little Miss Sunshine. Both of those teams have worked together as teams for years. That’s just how they do their work.
Jan pointed me to the film City of God which was directed by Fernando Meirelles and also has a co-director Katia Lund listed. The film did very well in the 2002-2003 cycle winning numerous awards at film festivals and in getting nominations from the major awards organizations. While Meirelles alone won numerous awards for his directing, there are two instances — the AFI audience award and the Washington DC Area Film Critics association — which gave the award to both Meirelles and Lund.
The question remains, why isn’t Loveleen being awarded along with Boyle? Here is what Boyle says about her contributions in an interview with Jan Lisa Huttner (Hot Pink Pen):
Jan: Now you’re calling her your co-director, right?
Boyle: Yes, she deserves it! She’s a proper director. You can feel it. You just know, really. Initially it was obvious how she helped us with the casting. The little kids didn’t speak much English; they spoke Hindi. We’d be trying to audition in English and it wasn’t working with 7 year-olds, and she said, “I’m horrified to tell you, Danny, but you should do it in Hindi.” I said, “Okay, we’ll do it in Hindi.” It was like a million times better straightaway.”
He also says, “Loveleen was also my cultural connection. You have to check things, obviously, so you don’t make any howling mistakes. But also so that when you know you do want to make “a mistake” because the narrative demands it, you’re confident you’re making it for the right reasons. She sometimes would say, “That would never happen.” And I would overrule her, but it’s because I understood the parameters.”
The full interview in PDF is here. So the question remains, why is Loveleen’s contribution being pushed aside? Danny Boyle as the singular director is probably more appealing, awards-wise. One visionary director always trumps two (except in rare instances, like the Coens). Even if she isn’t going to win the awards, people should know her name, at the very least.