For the first time in its nearly hundred-year history, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has nominated the same female filmmaker for the Best Director honors for a second time. Jane Campion, who was previously nominated in the category for 1993’s “The Piano” (she ultimately lost out to Steven Spielberg for his work on “Schindler’s List,” who she will face off against again this year), picked up a record-breaking second Oscar nom for her work on awards season favorite “The Power of the Dog.”
Campion, long viewed as the frontrunner in this category after picking up a bevy of awards already this season, was also nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay (in 1991, Campion won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for “The Piano”). Campion was also nominated for Best Picture as a producer of “The Power of the Dog.”
Campion will face off against Kenneth Branagh, Ryuske Hamaguchi, Paul Thomas Anderson, and Steven Spielberg in the stacked category.
In the Academy Awards’ 94-year history, only seven women have ever been nominated for Best Director alongside Campion: Lina Wertmüller (1976′s “Seven Beauties”), Sofia Coppola (2003′s “Lost in Translation”), Kathryn Bigelow (2009′s “The Hurt Locker”), Greta Gerwig (2017′s “Lady Bird”), Emerald Fennell (2020’s “Promising Young Woman”), and Chloé Zhao (2020’s “Nomadland”).
Last year marked the first time the Academy handed out nominations to two women in the category, with Zhao going on to win both Best Director (making her just the second woman to win the award, after Bigelow) and Best Picture for her “Nomandland,” while Fennell took home the statuette for Best Original Screenplay.
Over the years, the Oscars have nominated a number of filmmakers for Best Director nods more than once, including record-holder William Wyler (12 nominations), Martin Scorsese (nine), Billy Wilder, Steven Spielberg (both with eight), Woody Allen, David Lean, and Fred Zinnemann (seven each). John Ford, with five nominations, is the winningest director; he picked up four Best Director wins over the course of his storied career.
“The Power of the Dog” had its world premiere at the 78th Venice International Film Festival, where Campion won the Silver Lion for Best Direction. The Netflix feature, based on the Thomas Savage novel of the same name, went on to screen at TIFF, Telluride, and a range of other festivals. While Campion’s directing and writing have been praised, it has also proven to be a juggernaut for acting plaudits as well, including multiple nominations for stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons, and Kodi Smit-McPhee, all of whom were nominated this morning.
The film was also nominated for Best Sound, Best Original Score, Best Editing, Best Cinematography, and Best Production Design.
The accolades have not stopped in the many months since the film’s premiere: It was named one of the best films of 2021 by the American Film Institute, picked up seven nominations at the 79th Golden Globe Awards (ultimately winning Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture for Smit-McPhee and Best Director for Campion), plus ten nominations at the 27th Critics’ Choice Awards, including Best Picture. And that’s not even including the scads of critics groups and other festivals that have feted the film during this protracted awards season.
This year saw a number of lauded films directed by female filmmakers, including Sian Heder’s “CODA” (which was also nominated for Best Picture), Maggie Gyllenhaal’s “The Lost Daughter,” Rebecca Hall’s “Passing,” Celine Sciamma’s “Petite Maman,” Joanna Hogg’s “The Souvenir Part II,” Mia Hansen-Løve’s “Bergman Island,” and Julia Ducournau’s “Titane.”
Elsewhere, female directors were in somewhat shorter supply, with none nominated in Best International Film, and just two nominated in the Best Documentary Feature race: Jessica Kingdon’s “Ascension” and “Writing with Fire” (co-directed by Rintu Thomas). In the Best Animated Feature race, “Encanto” co-director Charise Castro Smith was the only female director nominated.
On the writing side, three women were nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay — Campion, Gyllenhaal, and Heder — though no women made the cut for the Best Original Screenplay race.
Winners will be announced at the 94th Oscars, which will take place on Sunday, March 27 live from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, airing on ABC. While a host for the annual show has not yet been announced, AMPAS has promised that the event will indeed have a host this year. Check out the full list of this morning’s nominations right here.