Chloé Zhao, Emerald Fennell make Oscars history with 2021 nominations


For the first time in the Academy’s nearly 100 years, two women have been nominated for the Oscars Best Director category in the same year.

Chloé Zhao and Emerald Fennell earned nods for their films “Nomadland” and “Promising Young Woman,” respectively.

Zhao is also the first woman of color to receive the nomination. 

The other nominees in this year’s field include David Fincher (“Mank”), Thomas Vintergerg (“Another Round”), and Lee Isaac Chung (“Minari”).

Fennell and Zhao also received screenplay nominations for their films. 

Both films have received a handful of other nominations, most notably for Best Picture and in the categories of Best Actress and Editing.

Nomadland, which received a total of six nominations, is also up for an award for Cinematography. 

Director, Emerald Fennell (center) is nominated for her film, "Promising Young Woman."
Director, Emerald Fennell (center) is nominated for her film, “Promising Young Woman.”
Focus Features via AP

The duo is the first up for the Best Director category since Greta Gerwig’s 2017 nomination for “Lady Bird.” Before Gerwig, only four other women have ever been nominated for the award: Lina Wertmüller (1976′s “Seven Beauties”), Jane Campion (1993′s “The Piano”), Sofia Coppola (2003′s “Lost in Translation”), Kathryn Bigelow (2009′s “The Hurt Locker”). Bigelow is the only woman to have ever received the award. 

Frances McDormand is nominated for Best Actress for her work in Chloé Zhao's film "Nomadland."
Frances McDormand is nominated for Best Actress for her work in Chloé Zhao’s film “Nomadland.”
Searchlight Pictures via AP

According to the Academy, a record number of 70 women have received a total of 76 nominations this year — most in the Oscar’s 93-year-history. 

The 2021 Golden Globes kicked off a belated awards season at the end of February, in a virtual show hosted on opposite sides of the country by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.

The Critics Choice Awards — where Zhao and her film took home top awards for Best Director and Best Film – Drama — on March 7 and were also hosted virtually. 

The 93rd running of the Oscars was postponed from February 28 to April 25 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Carey Mulligan is nominated for Best Actress for her work in Emerald Fennell's film "Promising Young Woman."
Carey Mulligan is nominated for Best Actress for her work in Emerald Fennell’s film “Promising Young Woman.”
Focus Features via AP

A representative for the Academy and ABC, which airs the show, confirmed the April date, adding that an “in-person telecast will happen” at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles, where the event traditionally takes place.

Exact details, including how many guests will be allowed inside the 3,400-seat theater, haven’t been announced. 



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