Women filmmakers are taking the reins of their destinies in Hollywood, with many stepping behind the camera and creating stories universal to the human condition. But it has been a slow-moving machine to see these talents recognized at the Oscars, especially in the best director category.
In the 95-year history of the Academy Awards, there have been 591 films nominated for the top prize for best picture. Eighteen of those films were helmed by a woman director. While grotesque in its mere statistic, we see an uptick in female-led stories being told and gaining notoriety.
For the 2023 Oscars, the highlights for women include:
The best picture nod for “Women Talking” represents the seventh for Dede Gardner (and the sixth for Jeremy Kleiner). Together, they won the award for “12 Years a Slave” (2013) and “Moonlight” (2016), and shared noms 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 nom for best picture, previously winning for “Nomadland” (2020).
Although not directed by a woman, “Elvis” producer Catherine Martin becomes the seventh woman with nominations in three or more award categories following Jane Campion, Sofia Coppola, Emerald Fennell, Barbra Streisand, Fran Walsh and Chloé Zhao (4). Martin is also nominated for production design and costume design. Mandy Walker, the D.P. of “Elvis,” is the third woman nominated for cinematography after Rachel Morrison (“Mudbound”) and Ari Wegner (“The Power of the Dog”).
The late Lina Wertmüller, who became the first woman Oscar-nominated for directing with “Seven Beauties” (1975), was a trailblazer for the category in what is arguably one of the strongest film years in the Academy. However, her film didn’t ultimately land one of the five coveted spots for best picture, in favor of eventual winners “Rocky,” “All the President’s Men,” “Bound for Glory,” “Network,” and “Taxi Driver.” The first movie wouldn’t come until Randa Haines’ “Children of a Lesser God” (1986).
Below, find all 19 women-directed films nominated for best picture.