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12 Directors Oscar-Nominated for Their First Features

Getting a first feature off the ground is an impressive achievement by itself, but an Oscar nomination is another feat entirely.

Emerald Fennell

Emerald Fennell directing “Promising Young Woman”

Merie Weismiller Wallace / © Focus Features / Courtesy Everett Collection

Emerald Fennell has turned into a coveted directing sensation thanks to her star turn making “Promising Young Woman,” which also happens to be her first feature. Meanwhile, she’s also nominated for Best Picture as a producer on the Carey Mulligan film, and Best Original Screenplay, for her vicious tale about a woman seeking vengeance for her friend’s sexual assault. Fennell also happens to be nominated in the Best Director category opposite Chloe Zhao for “Nomadland,” making this the first time in Oscar history that two women are competing for the prize.

Getting a first feature off the ground is an impressive achievement by itself, but taking it all the way to an Oscar nomination is another feat entirely. Below, check out 12 directors who received an Academy Award nomination for Best Director for their first films — many of whom went on to win, or become nominated again.

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