Lady Bird writer-director Greta Gerwig is the first female nominee in the best director category at the Academy Awards since Kathryn Bigelow in 2010. Only three other women have been nominated in the 90-year history of the Oscars – Sofia Coppola, Jane Campion and Lena Wertmuller.
Gerwig is also nominated for best original screenplay, a category that includes The Big Sick co-writers Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, plus Vanessa Taylor and Guillermo del Toro for The Shape of Water.
Mudbound director Dee Rees will likely be seen as a best director snub, but she is nominated for best adapted screenplay – the only woman in the category this year. The film’s cinematographer Rachel Morrison is the first female cinematographer ever nominated for an Academy Award.
Only three best picture nominees were written by women – The Post, Lady Bird and The Shape of Water. These are also the only best picture nominees with notable female leads, aside from Frances McDormand’s character Mildred Hayes in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.
Loving Vincent and The Breadwinner are recognized for best animated feature, both with female directors (Dorota Kobiela and Nora Twomey). Faces Places co-director Agnes Varda is nominated for best documentary and co-writer Joelle Touma is recognized in the foreign feature category.
Lady Bird and The Shape of Water undoubtedly lead the charge of nominees with female writers. Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf are nominated for their roles as mother and daughter Lady Bird and Marion McPherson in Gerwig’s self-proclaimed love letter to her hometown of Sacramento. Richard Jenkins, Octavia Spencer and Sally Hawkins are recognized for del Toro’s feature, which is also nominated in numerous technical categories.
Gerwig is the most notable takeaway from the morning’s nominations, nominated for her solo directing debut for a film that passes the Bechdel-Wallace test with ease.
© Georgiana E. Presecky (1/23/18) FF2 Media
Top: Gerwig at the Golden Globe Awards January 7th.
Bottom: Hawkins and Spencer in The Shape of Water.