5 Female-Directed Movies That Paved the Way for This Year’s Oscar Nominees

Kathryn Bigelow on the set of
Kathryn Bigelow on the set of "Zero Dark Thirty" in 2012. Photo by Jonathan Olley/Annapurna/Kobal/Shutterstock (5885903h)

Chloé Zhao and Emerald Fennell made Oscar history this year by becoming the first pair of female directors to be nominated in the best director category with their films Nomadland and Promising Young Woman. Their success would have been impossible without other female filmmakers who paved the way, including these five women who previously received nods in this category.

Lina Wertmüller (Seven Beauties – 1976)

During the mid-70s, the Italian filmmaker Lina Wertmüller made history as the first female best director nominee with this movie about an Italian man who does everything to survive in a prison camp after trying to desert the army during World War II.

Jane Campion (The Piano – 1993)

Jane Campion gave us a series of brilliant movies over the course of the past three decades, but this period drama put her on the map and won her an Oscar for the best original screenplay.

Sofia Coppola (Lost in Translation – 2003)

Sofia Coppola’s filmography is filled with female-driven and aesthetically pleasing projects, and it was a breath of fresh air to see the Academy recognize her work with the best director nod for Lost in Translation.

Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker – 2009)

One of the most prolific directors working today, Kathryn Bigelow also happens to be the first woman to ever receive the best director Oscar for her war drama The Hurt Locker.

Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird – 2017)

Gerwig made her solo directorial debut with the coming-of-age movie Lady Bird, and we’re hoping her best director nomination is only the first of many to come.