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Jane Campion has become the first woman to receive multiple Oscar nominations for best director.
Her second nod comes for helming best picture frontrunner The Power of the Dog, having previously been recognized for 1993’s Cannes Palme d’Or winner The Piano. Campion’s Netflix Western, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons and Kodi Smit-McPhee, also picked up noms for best picture, adapted screenplay (also for Campion, who previously won in the category for The Piano), actor, supporting actor (twice), supporting actress, sound, score, editing, cinematography and production design, leading the pack with 12 nominations total.
The Power of the Dog is far from the only film directed by a woman worthy of a spot in the awards conversation this year. Maggie Gyllenhaal’s directorial debut, The Lost Daughter, secured nominations for adapted screenplay, actress (previous winner Olivia Colman) and supporting actress for Jessie Buckley. Sian Heder’s CODA also earned a best picture, adapted screenplay and supporting actor nom for Troy Kotsur. With Campion, Gyllenhaal and Heder’s adapted screenplay noms, it marks the most women in the category in the same year since 1991.
Other films like Janicza Bravo’s Zola, Lauren Hadway’s The Novice and Emma Seligman’s Shiva Baby may not have been recognized by the Academy, but they landed nominations at the Film Independent Spirit Awards, which are being handed out March 6.
Last year’s Oscars were notable as the first to see multiple female nominees in a single year — Chloé Zhao for Nomadland and Emerald Fennell for Promising Young Woman — the former becoming only the second female director in the Academy’s history to win the prestigious prize.
Only seven women in Oscars history have ever been nominated for best director and, as of last year, two have won. The first was Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker. Lina Wertmüller was the earliest to be nominated, in 1977 for Seven Beauties. Sofia Coppola and Greta Gerwig were nominated for Lost in Translation and Lady Bird, respectively.
The Academy has long celebrated films made by women while snubbing them in the directing category. Children of a Lesser God (1986), Awakenings (1990), The Prince of Tides (1991), Little Miss Sunshine (2006), An Education (2009), The Kids Are All Right (2010), Winter’s Bone (2010), Zero Dark Thirty (2012) and Little Women (2019) all received best picture nominations but did not land nods for their directors.
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