And only one woman has taken home the prize in the award show's 92 years of giving them out
Credit: Wilson Webb/Columbia Pictures

The 2020 Oscar nominations were announced Monday morning, and the Best Director nominees were lacking in diversity … again. Issa Rae, who announced the nominees with John Cho, put it perfectly when she said, “Congratulations to those men.”

The nominees for the award are majority white and all-male. The contenders for one of Hollywood’s most coveted awards include Bong Joon-ho for Parasite, Sam Mendes for 1917, Martin Scorsese for The Irishman, Quentin Tarantino for Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood and Todd Phillips for Joker.

Noticeably absent from the list: women.

Greta Gerwig’s Little Women picked up six nods, but Gerwig failed to land a directing nomination, even though her film was nominated for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay. Additionally, Lulu Wang was not nominated for her direction of The Farewell, despite receiving critical acclaim throughout the 2020 awards season. Also snubbed? Lorene Scafaria for Hustlers, Melina Matsoukas for Queen & Slim and Marielle Heller for A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.

Had the women been nominated for the category, they would have joined the sole five female nominees in the Oscars‘ 92-year history. Here’s a look at the women who’ve been nominated for the award — and the one woman who took it home.

Lina Wertmüller was the first woman ever nominated for Best Director, for 1977’s Seven Beauties.

Lina Wertmuller
Credit: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

At the 49th Academy Awards, the Italian screenwriter and director made history by being the first female to be nominated in nearly half a century. She was also nominated for Best Screenplay for the Italian language film, though she did not take home either award.

Seventeen years later, in 1993, Jane Campion was nominated for The Piano.

Jane Campion

After almost two decades without a female directing nominee, the Academy nominated Campion for her work on The Piano. Campion did not win the Best Director award, but did win for Best Screenplay.

(Fun fact: The film was a young Anna Paquin’s very first acting role, and she won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance.)

Ten years later, Sofia Coppola was nominated for Lost in Translation in 2003.

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The film, which stars Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray, earned Coppola Best Director, Best Picture and Best Screenplay nods, making her the third woman nominated for the directing award. She did not take home the prize for Best Director, but did win for Best Screenplay.

Six years later, in 2010, Kathryn Bigelow won Best Director for The Hurt Locker.

The first woman in Academy Awards history to take home the prize did so 82 years after the first Oscar was handed out. The Hurt Locker was nominated for nine awards that year. It walked away with six in total: Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Director, Best Film Editing, Best Sound Mixing and Best Sound Editing. When Barbra Streisand announced Bigelow’s win, she aptly said, “Well, the time as come.”

Eight years later, in 2017, Greta Gerwig was nominated for Lady Bird.

Though Gerwig was, by all accounts, snubbed for Best Director for Little Women this year, she was recognized in 2017 for Lady Bird. The then 33-year-old made her solo directorial debut with the coming-of-age film, starring Saoirse Ronan, and she was nominated for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay. All in all, the film was nominated for five awards, though didn’t win any.