Movies

The Oscars Made A Lot Of Long-Overdue History With The 2021 Nominations

This year is the 93rd Academy Awards. Through the first 92 ceremonies, only five women have been nominated for Best Director, with only one win (Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker). Put another way: Suicide Squad has as many Oscars as every woman nominated for Best Director combined. The Academy has a lot of work to do when it comes to gender and race inclusivity, but a small bit of positive history was made this morning when Chloé Zhao (Nomadland) and Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman) were both nominated for Best Director, the first time two women have been nominated in that category at the same time… ever.

It was one of many historic firsts from the 2021 Academy Awards nominations, including:

-Riz Ahmed: the first Muslim actor to be nominated for Best Actor

-Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson: the first Black women nominated for Best Makeup and Hairstyling

-Zhao and Lee Isaac Chung: the first time two Asian filmmakers were nominated for Best Director in the same year

-Zhao made a lot of history:

Judas and the Black Messiah: the first Best Picture nominee with an all-Black group of producers (Shaka King, Charles D. King, and Ryan Coogler)

-Steven Yeun: the first Asian-American to be nominated for Best Actor. From Variety:

In the Oscars’ 92-year history, few actors of Asian or South Asian descent have been nominated, and barely a handful have won, among them Ben Kingsley for Gandhi in 1982 and Haing S. Ngor for The Killing Fields in 1984. The most recent nominee was Dev Patel for best supporting actor for Lion in 2017.

Also, it’s not a first, but with her Best Actress nomination for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Viola Davis is now the most-nominated Black actress in Oscar history (her co-star, the late Chadwick Boseman, is one of eight actors to receive an Academy Award nominations after their death). It’s shameful that it took the Oscars this long to nominate two female filmmakers at the same time, along with all the other “firsts,” so hopefully over the next 90-plus years, this becomes the norm, not the exception.

For the full list of nominees, click here.

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