The 2021 Oscar’s nominations were announced Monday and it was revealed that a couple of records were set for women. First, in total, 70 women scored nods for 76 different nominations, which was a record for the Academy. And the record for most women nominated for ‘Best Director’ was also broken. When you see headlines like “Female directors break record for most nominations in a single year” it’s easy to get excited- until you see the previous record. For the first time in Oscar history, two women have been nominated for best director. The first-ever Academy Awards was in 1929, which means it took over 90 years for more than one woman to be nominated in the category. Those two amazing directors are Chloé Zhao, for “Nomadland” and Emerald Fennell for ”Promising Young Woman.”
Zhao is not only the first Chinese woman to be nominated for Best Director but the first woman of color in history to ever be nominated for the category. Nomadland is also nominated for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, and the star, Frances McDormand, is nominated for Best Actress.
Zhao and Fennell’s films are up against Thomas Vinterberg, “Another Round,” David Fincher’s “Mank,” and Lee Isaac Chung, “Minari.” As noted by the Daily Beast, before 2021, only five women had ever been nominated in the best director category: Lina Wertmüller, 1977 for “Seven Beauties,” Jane Campion in 1994 for “The Piano,” Sofia Coppola in 2003 for “Lost in Translation,” Kathryn Bigelow in 2010 for “The Hurt Locker” and Greta Gerwig in 2018 for “Lady Bird.” The only woman who won was Bigelow.
The fact is shocking but unfortunately not surprising and is a testament to why the “Oscars So White” and the “Me Too” movement is so important to change the history of our awards shows.
The Oscars air April 25, 2021, at 8:00 PM EDT.