Also nominated in the category were Paul Thomas Anderson (Licorice Pizza), Kenneth Branagh (Belfast), Steven Spielberg (West Side Story) and Ryûsuke Hamaguchi (Drive My Car).
Campion was the first female director to be nominated twice in the directing category and only the third woman to ever win.
All of the films helmed by the Best Director nominees were also included in the Best Picture category on the night.
In 2021, the Best Director trophy also went to a woman — Chloé Zhao, who made history at the 93rd Academy Awards, becoming the first woman of colour to win the best director prize. Zhao picked up the nod for her incredible film Nomadland which swept the awards — including a win for Best Picture.
Zhao was only the second woman ever to receive the award, with Kathryn Bigelow having previously won for her 2009 film The Hurt Locker. The 2021 Best Director category was already historic as it featured two women — with Emerald Fennel (who won best original screenplay) also nominated for Promising Young Woman. Their nominations brought the total of women nominated in the category to only seven.
The lack of female directors in the Best Director category was called out by Emma Stone in 2018, with the actress using her time as a presenter on the night to say, “It is the director whose indelible touch is reflected on every frame. It is the director who, shot by shot, scene by scene, day by day, works with every member of the crew to further the story.”
She continued, “And it is the vision of the director that takes an ordinary movie and turns it into a work of art. These four men and Greta Gerwig created their own masterpieces this year.”
Gerwig was nominated in the category for Ladybird.
This year, Campion was the only female director included in the category, marking the New Zealand born filmmaker’s second time being included in the category. She was previously nominated for The Piano in 1994, taking home the prize for Best Original Screenplay instead.
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