Female filmmakers are taking the reins of their fortunes in Hollywood, with many stepping behind the camera to create universal stories about the human condition. But it has been a slow machine to see these talents recognized at the Oscars, especially in the Best Director category.
In the Academy Awards’ 95-year history, 591 films have been nominated for the top award for Best Picture. Eighteen of these films were directed by a female director. While staggering in sheer statistics, we see an increase in female-led storytelling and notoriety.
For the 2023 Oscars, highlights for women include:
The Best Picture nod for “Woman Talking” represents Dede Gardner’s seventh (and Jeremy Kleiner’s sixth). Together, they won awards for “12 Years a Slave” (2013) and “Moonlight” (2016) and awards for “Selma” (2014), “The Big Short” (2015) and “Vice” (2018). . Gardner was also previously nominated for “The Tree of Life” (2011). Also a producer, Frances McDormand received her second best picture nom, having previously won for “Nomadland” (2020).
Although not directed by a woman, “Elvis” producer Catherine Martin became the seventh woman to be nominated in three or more award categories, following Jane Campion, Sofia Coppola, Panna Fennell, Barbra Streisand, Fran Walsh and Chloe Zhao (4). Martin is also nominated for production design and costume design. Mandy Walker, DP on “Elvis,” is the third woman nominated for cinematography, following Rachel Morrison (“Mudbound”) and Ari Wagner (“The Power of the Dog”).
The late Lena Wertmuller, who became the first female Oscar-nominee for directing “Seven Beauties” (1975), was a trailblazer for the category during one of the Academy’s strongest film years. However, his film ultimately failed to land one of the five coveted spots for Best Picture, favoring eventual winners “Rocky,” “All the President’s Men,” “Bound for Glory,” “Network,” and “Taxi Driver.” Randa Haynes’ “Children The first movie wouldn’t come until “Of a Leisure God” (1986).
Below, find all 19 female-directed films nominated for Best Picture.