Despite its near-hundred-year history, the Oscars is still the kind of place where long-standing gender boundaries are broken each year (to say nothing of similar issues when it comes to race). It took nearly 50 years for the annual ceremony to even nominate a woman for Best Director (and then an additional 33 years for the AMPAS kudofest to actually award the statuette to one). Only three female-directed films have ever won the awards for Best International Film. A woman wasn’t nominated for Best Cinematography until 2017 (and one still hasn’t won in that category).
As Hollywood prepares for the 94th Annual Academy Awards March 27, records are still being broken and much-deserved recognitions are still being handed out. And while strides have been made — consider last year, the first in which two women were nominated for Best Director, with Chloé Zhao even winning the damn thing — examining the nominations and possible winners from an increasingly deep and exciting pool of female filmmakers and creators (not just directors, but writers, editors, cinematographers, and more) illuminates just how many women are worthy of a shiny Oscar statuette. Let’s get to know them.