Gerwig is the only woman nominated in the category for the 90th Academy Awards this year, despite calls for the Academy to recognize Mudbound director Dee Rees and Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins.
Just 7% of directors of the top 250 highest-grossing domestic films of 2016 were women, according to a study released earlier this month. Women of color make up an even smaller a percentage of directors. Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win a directing Oscar for 2008’s The Hurt Locker. Before Bigelow’s win, only Lina Wertmuller (Seven Beauties), Jane Campion (The Piano) and Sofia Coppola (Lost in Translation) had been nominated. Until Tuesday, no female director had been nominated in the category since Bigelow won.
Lady Bird has received critical acclaim. Gerwig landed a Directors Guild nomination and a best directing nomination at the Critics’ Choice Awards. But Gerwig was left out of the directing nominees at the Golden Globes. At the Jan. 7 ceremony, Natalie Portman presented the Best Director award and called out its “all-male nominees.”