Golden Globes nominate historic number of women directors

Three women have been nominated for best director

Promising Young Woman
(Image credit: Focus Features)

The Golden Globes announced the 2021 nominees for Best Director. The awards ceremony has made history by nominating more women than men for the first time.

Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman), Chloé Zhao (Nomadland), and Regina King (One Night in Miami) have all been nominated for their movies. Other nominees for best director include David Fincher (Mank) and Aaron Sorkin (The Trial of the Chicago 7).

It is the first time that the Golden Globes have given this many nominations to women directors. These nominations account for almost a third of the nominations for women directors in the award shows history. In the past 77 years, only five women directors have been nominated for this award.

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Regina King

Regina King

(Image credit: Frazer Harrison / Getty Images)

The last woman director nominated for this award was Ava DuVenay for Selma in 2014. Only a single woman has won this prestigious award: Barbara Steisand won Best Director in 1984 for Yentl. That means for the last 37 years, only men have won this award. 

The surge in women directors recognized for their talent follows Natalie Portman's pointed statement, "Here are the all-male nominees," when presenting the 2018 Golden Globe award for Best Director. 

 Emerald Fennell is also an actor and a writer, she currently stars in The Crown as a young Camilla Parker-Bowles, and she was the chief writer on the second series of Killing Eve. 

Regina King is an Oscar-winning actor who won best supporting actress in If Beale Street Could Talk. She also won a Golden Globe in the same category for the same film in 2018. 

Director Chloe Zhao is the first Asian woman to be nominated for this award. She is well known for her independent films and is the Director and writer of the forthcoming Eternals, part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. 

Chloe Zhao

Chloe Zhao

(Image credit: Amanda Edwards / Getty Images)

The Golden Globes aren't the only award show to underrepresent women in their directorial category. The Academy Awards have only nominated five women for Best Director in the show's 92-year span. Only one woman director has won an Oscar, Kathryn Bigelow, for The Hurt Locker.

Research released last year by the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative found that "10.6% of the directors of 2019's top movies were women - the highest percentage in more than a decade."

Research from the Centre for the study of Women in Film and Television found that "women comprised 16% of directors working on the top 100 grossing films in 2020."

This research shows a steady increase in women directors and recognition for the work produced by women in this position.

The Golden Globes will be hosted by Amy Poehler and Tina Fey on February 28, 2021. Statistically, there is a 60% chance that a woman will win this coveted award, which will mark the second time a woman director has prevailed since the awards began 77 years ago in 1944.

Emerald Fennell

Emerald Fennell

(Image credit: Rich Polk / Getty Images)