In the 94 year history of the Academy Awards, there have only been a handful of nominations for female directors. There is a vast void to fill when it comes to the recognition of female directors who possess qualities no less than any fine director if given a chance. With a total of 7 women being nominated in this category and 2 winning the award, these women have paved the way for aspiring woman directors that diligence and fearlessness can make them reach this platform too.
- Lina Wertmüller – ‘Seven Beauties’ (1975)
The first-ever woman to be nominated in the category, Lina Wertmüller showcased her nuance by presenting a story of a man who is living in fascist Italy during World War II and joins the army trying to escape from his tormenting past. But he abandons the army and is caught by German soldiers who put him in the prison camp where he must go to any lengths to ensure his survival.
- Jane Campion – ‘The Piano’ (1993)
Jane Campion has made history by being nominated for the Best Director category again this year with her poignant film ‘Power of the Dog’. The Piano is set during the mid-1800s and this movie captures the hardships of a mute Scottish woman who has been sold off in marriage as she wanders to different locations in New Zealand along with her daughter. A beautiful movie that encapsulates the essence of womanhood through unspoken words by the lead.
- Sofia Coppola – ‘lost In Translation’ (2003)
Daughter of legendary director Francis Ford Coppola, Sofia showcases her prowess in this movie that focuses on a middle-aged fading American movie star who travels to Tokyo and forms an unlikely friendship with a lonely married woman in her 20s. Sofia contrasts the bustling city full of people against the growing despondency that the protagonists feel and eventually find solace in each other.
- Kathryn Bigelow – ‘the Hurt Locker’ (2009)
This war movie made history when Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win the Award for Best Director as she defeated her ex-husband James Cameron to it. A thrilling portrayal of soldiers who have been given the task of disarming bombs during combat in the violent and chaotic city of Baghdad. A new leader of the squad, using his unconventional techniques and persona makes his subordinates question his authority.
- Greta Gerwig – ‘Lady Bird’ (2017)
Greta Gerwing provides a masterstroke and provides the coming-of-age genre with a refreshing take. This movie grapples with teen angst, aspirations and dreams, all of this is embodied in the protagonist who is a high schooler in a strict Catholic School who longs for thrill and adventure whilst finding new romance and maintaining a good relationship with her parents.
- Emerald Fennell – ‘Promising Young Woman’ (2020)
This unique story about revenge promises to give goosebumps each time, Emerald Fennell has done a splendid job by stunningly portraying a woman who works in a coffee shop by day and at night masquerades as a force to reckon with as she tries to give men a lesson of a lifetime. With poppy colours used in the cinematography, the film hides a dark truth of our society.
- Chloé Zhao – ‘Nomadland’ (2020)
A cinematic marvel of the highest order, Chloé Zhao uses picturesque locations in the American West to narrate the story of a woman who has lost everything in her life and decides to become a nomad. She tries to live an unconventional life in her van and often meets wanderers who provide her with an insight into life that renews a new hope in her. For this movie, Chloé won the Best Director Award, a feat only second to that of Kathryn Bigelow.