For the first time in Golden Globes’ history, in 2021 three female filmmakers were nominated for Best Director. Having said that, we collected some of the most remarkable names in the industry.
Emerald Fennell (“Promising Young Woman”), Chloe Zhao (“Nomadland”) and Regina King (“One Night in Miami”) surely make history at this year’s Golden Globes as they are all up for Best Director, making it the first time ever that more than one woman was nominated in the category. What is even more striking for King and Fennell is that the nominations are for their debut features.
“One night in Miami” is set in 1964 and Cassius Clay – before he became Muhammad Ali – he was the heavyweight boxing champion of the world. After his win, he plans to celebrate with three good friends: activist Malcolm X, singer Sam Cooke and football star Jim Brown. They get together to chill, debate, argue and celebrate. These men are all celebrities in their own circles, but to each other, they’re simply friends who are unafraid to challenge each other’s views on the present and future of Black America.
“Promising Young Woman” is a smart, provocative, dark comedy about a ’promising young woman’ played by Carey Mulligan. She is traumatized by a tragic event in her past and seeks out revenge against those who crossed her path in an astonishingly forceful way.
Zhao, the creator of quiet indie movies has already raised attention in Hollywood thanks to her trio of truly non-commercial features. She also attracted a major star, Frances McDormand, who co-produced “Nomadland” and plays the leading character, a woman who leaves her small town to travel around the American West. It also features David Strathairn in a supporting role, as well as real-life nomads Linda May, Swankie and Bob Wells, as fictionalized versions of themselves.
It is worth mentioning that prior to this historical day, only five female directors had ever been nominated for Best Director in the show’s 78 years of history.
Before Zhao, Fennell and King the five directors nominated were Ava DuVernay, Barbra Streisand, Jane Campion, Sofia Coppola, and Kathryn Bigelow.
Here are some highlights of the works of these remarkable women.
Before she made her first directorial debut, “This Is the Life” in 2008 she worked in public relations. This was followed by low-budget features like “I Will Follow” and “Middle of Nowhere”, then her historical drama about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s, called “Selma“ was one of the most talked about films of 2015. A tragically relevant and historically significant movie, which earned a Golden Globe nomination for her in Best Director category. Since she directed the impactful and important Netflix documentary “13th” and Disney’s “A Wrinkle in Time” she has become the first black female director ever to lead a $100 million film.
She is one of the most prominent female directors of the modern generation. Having her career started in 1978, after a couple of years she very soon received attention with the action film “Point Break”. From there, she stayed involved in heavy projects (“Strange Days”, “The Widowmaker”, “Blue Steel”). The first woman to actually win the directing Oscar was for the Iraq War Drama “The Hurt Locker” in 2008. This film was nominated for Best Director in Golden Globes together with 2012 movie “Zero Dark Thirty”, a heavy dramatization of the operational manhunt to take down Osama bin Laden. With mostly violent topics she is often criticized and questioned.
As the daughter of the famous director Francis Ford Coppola, Sofia Coppola is best known for her films “The Virgin Suicides” (1999), “Lost in Translation” (2003) and “Marie Antoinette” (2006). For the movie “Lost in Translation”, which is starring Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson, she was the first American woman in the history of Oscars to be nominated for an Award in the category of best director.
Hard to highlight a career which is so rich in momentums. She is a singer, actress, director, and producer. After starring in such movies like “Funny Girl” (1968), “Hello Dolly!” (1969), “The Owl” and the “Pussycat” (1970), “Funny Lady” (1975), “What’s Up Doc?” (1972), “The Way We Were” (1973) and the remake of “A Star is Born” (1976) she debuted as a director with the musical drama “Yentl” (1983). She also produced, and starred in the movie and this brought her the Golden Globes nomination and the win of the award for Best Director. She had another movie, “The Prince of Tides” in 1991 which earned her the same nomination, making her the first female director to be nominated twice for this category.
Director and screenwriter from New Zealand whose films often focus on women who are outsiders in society. After several critically acclaimed works, she wrote and directed “The Piano” (1993), for which she won an Academy Award for best original screenplay and was nominated for best director for both in Oscars and Golden Globes. The 19th-century love story is a passionate and moving film, which was lauded for its lush visualization of the complex emotions of a woman’s sexual awakening. Her subsequent films allowed her to continue her exploration of the power of female sexuality, as she did with “The Portrait of a Lady” (1996), “Holy Smoke” (1999) and “In the Cut” (2003). Critics and audiences alike praised her originality and willingness to push boundaries.
Generally speaking, award ceremonies don’t have an amazing track record when it comes to honoring women behind the camera. Streisand is in fact the only woman to ever win the Golden Globe for best director. But that could change this year.
Sources: newsweek.com, latimes.com, variety.com, britannica.com