Chloé Zhao and Emerald Fennell Make History for Female Directors with 2021 Oscar Nominations

The pair are nominated alongside Lee Isaac Chung (Minari), David Fincher (Mank) and Thomas Vinterberg (Another Round) in the Best Director category

The nominations for the 2021 Academy Awards are here — and the results are historic for female directors.

For the first time ever, more than one woman has been nominated in the Best Director category for the annual awards show. This year, both Chloé Zhao (Nomadland) and Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman) were nominated, with Zhao also becoming the first woman of Asian descent to net the honor.

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Zhao, 38, and Fennell, 35, are nominated in the category along with Lee Isaac Chung (Minari), David Fincher (Mank) and Thomas Vinterberg (Another Round).

Only five women have been nominated in the Best Director category previously: Lina Wertmüller (Seven Beauties) in 1977, Jane Campion (The Piano) in 1994, Sofia Coppola (Lost in Translation) in 2003, Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker) in 2010 and Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird) in 2018.

Bigelow, 69, was the first and is currently the only female to win in the category.

Chloe Zhao and Emerald Fennel
JEAN-BAPTISTE LACROIX/AFP via Getty; Dia Dipasupil/Getty

Zhao who previously made several independent films such as The Rider, received buzz for her work in Nomadland, which follows the story of Fern (Frances McDormand), who becomes a drifter after losing her home in the 2008 recession.

The film is up for six Oscar nominations, including Best Picture.

Last month, Zhao took home the Golden Globe for best director. She was up against Fennell for Promising Young Woman, Regina King for One Night in Miami, David Fincher for Mank and Aaron Sorkin for The Trial of the Chicago 7.

Chloe Zhao
Chloe Zhao.

Fennell both directed and wrote Promising Young Woman, which finds Carey Mulligan's Cassie committing herself to a revenge mission after her college friend was sexually assaulted.

The movie, which also stars Alison Brie, Bo Burnham, Clancy Brown, Jennifer Coolidge and Laverne Cox, scored five Oscar nominations, including Best Picture.

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Emerald Fennell
Emerald Fennell. Dia Dipasupil/Getty

Like every awards show that has occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 Academy Awards will look very different from past editions. Traditionally hosted at a sole location, the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, this year's event will instead take place over various locations.

In June, the Academy pushed back the date of the show by two months from its original air date of Feb. 28 to April 25 due to the pandemic.

The 93rd Academy Awards will air live on Sunday, April 25 starting at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on ABC.

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