With the Oscars now in their 94th year, progress is extremely slowly being made in terms of recognising women directors. This means that every year, some new ridiculous record is being set that should have happened decades ago. And this year, we have our first woman director – Jane Campion – to receive a second nomination for directing.
The stats are still extraordinarily depressing and it will take a very long time for women to achieve a level playing field with the men who have dominated the industry, and therefore awards, for nearly a century. A total of six women have received seven nominations for Best Director, and four of these have been within the last four years.
These movies and their nomination year are Seven Beauties (Lina Wertmuller, 1977), The Piano (Jane Campion, 1994), Lost in Translation (Sofia Coppola, 2004), The Hurt Locker (Kathryn Bigelow, 2010), Lady Bird (Greta Gerwig, 2018), Promising Young Woman (Emerald Fennell, 2021), Nomadland (Chloe Zhao, 2021), and The Power of the Dog (Jane Campion, 2022). Bigelow and Zhao are the only two women who have ever won the Oscar for Best Director.
2021 and 2022 are the first two consecutive years where women have been nominated for Best Director. 2021 was the first year that two women had ever competed within the Best Director category.
“It’s both sad but it’s also great that women are punching that glass ceiling out of the way. I really feel things are changing,” Campion told Variety of her directing nomination. “I’ve been in the industry a long time now, and it’s very different today than it was when I first started. The brave women from the #MeToo movement that began it all with their revelations about the systemic abuse within the industry has woken everybody up and committed people, men and women, to wanting equality. We’re not there yet. But, I would say that it’s the end of apartheid for the industry when it comes to gender.”
The Power of the Dog was Campion’s first film for over a decade, with her last being Bright Star (2009). She is also known for In the Cut (2003), Holy Smoke (1999), The Portrait of a Lady (1996), An Angel at my Table (1990), Sweetie (1989) and 2 Friends (1986). The longevity of her career proves that women directors have always been there – they’ve just largely been ignored.
The Power of the Dog received twelve nominations and is the favourite to win Best Picture, and Campion is very likely to win Best Director.
If you’re interested in awards-worthy fare, check out our guide the best drama movies.