It is happening for the first time in 93 years that the Academy of Motion Picture Sciences has shortlisted two women as the Best Leading Director nominees.
On Monday, March 15, Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas announced that Cloé Zhao and Emerald Fennell would face off with some of the industry’s leading directors at the 2021 Oscars. Zhao created a tragic drama for Nomadland, while Fennell weaved a fair story about Promising Young Woman.
The nomination also create history on ground for the first time that the nominee was a woman of colour.
It is a sad time to see that it took almost a century for two female directors to be seen at the Oscars.
In fact, there is only one woman who has won this category: Kathryn Bigelow. In 2009, Bigelow won the award for her film The Hurt Locker. In her acceptance speech, the director described it as “a moment of a lifetime.”
And she was right. Prior to Bigelow, only four women were known and recognised at Oscars in the industry.
Lina Wertmüller became the first female nominee in 1977, following a major recognition for the Italian war movie, Seven Beauties.
Twenty years later, Jane Campion’s 1993 film The Piano, starring Anna Paquin, Holly Hunter and Harvey Keitel, was recognized alongside Schindler’s List.
Then in 2003, Sofia Coppola’s beloved film Lost in Translation competed with directors Fernando Meirelles, Peter Jackson, Clint Eastwood, and Peter Weir. She was eventually defeated by Jackson’s Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, who set the medal by taking 11 awards that night.
Zhao And Emerald
And now, it’s time for Zhao and Fennell to wait in a breath of fresh air to find out if they have won the 2021 Oscars. The two will face Thomas Vinterberg, David Fincher and Lee Isaac Chung.
So far, Zhao has been predicted to win big. The 39-year-old director has already won home prizes at the Critics Choice, Golden Globe and Directors Guild of America awards. In other words, chances are in her favor.
But the Oscars have crowned the occasional wild card, so it’s anyone’s guess who will win.