It has been nearly a century since the first Academy Awards, first hosted in 1929. Out of roughly 450 directors nominated, 5 were women, and only one of these won the first – and only – Academy Award ever to go to a woman: Kathryn Bigelow’s tense war thriller about a bomb disposal team in Bagdad, The Hurt Locker (2010).
War is the fruit of creativity, it seems, and 35 years before Bigelow’s win, first female nominee Lina Wertmüller was recognised for her black comedy Pasqualino/Seven Beauties, which sees an Italian WW2 deserter go to extraordinary lengths to escape a German concentration camp.
And while New Zealand director Jane Campion won Best Screenplay, she unfortunately did not win Best Director for moody melodrama loaded with forbidden lust and unrequited love The Piano, a silent yet expressive rebellion. Bringing up the rear are Sofia Coppola with her film about life crises, culture shocks and friendship, Lost in Translation, and finally, Greta Gerwig’s recent coming-of-age story filled with family drama, teenage laughter and tears, Lady Bird.
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