On the back of the Oscars, here are 7 female film directors who are making waves in Hollywood.
- Chloe Zhao
Chloe Zhao’s debut feature “Songs My Brothers Taught Me” (2015) premiered at Sundance and later played at the Cannes Film Festival. Her second, “The Rider,” won the Art Cinema Award in 2017, the top prize at Directors’ Fortnight, a Cannes Film Festival showcase that has been a launching pad for directors around the world.
“Nomadland,” her third feature, was nominated for six Academy Awards, including best picture and best director. Zhao won the Golden Globe for best director earlier this year as well as the top directing prize from the Directors Guild of America.
Zhao’s next movie, “Eternals,” a comic book title that is part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, will be released in November.
- Emerald Fennell
Although the Academy Award-nominated “Promising Young Woman” is Emerald Fennell’s directorial debut, she has worked in Hollywood for well over a decade as an actor and writer.
She is an Emmy Award-nominated writer for her work on the BBC hit “Killing Eve” and a children’s author.
Fennell is currently working with Andrew Lloyd Webber on the musical “Cinderella” and has been tapped to write a Zatanna film for the DC Extended Universe.
- Regina King
While Regina King has been a well-known actress in Hollywood for three decades, her directorial film debut “One Night in Miami” earned her a Golden Globe nomination for best director alongside Zhao and Fennell.
King previously directed episodes of “Southland,” “Scandal,” “Animal Kingdom,” “This Is Us,” “Shameless,” “The Good Doctor” and “Insecure.”
- Ava DuVernay
Ava DuVernay first made a name for herself in Hollywood with her 2012 film “Middle of Nowhere,” which made her the first Black woman to earn best director in the drama category at Sundance.
Two years later, DuVernay become the first Black woman to be nominated for a Golden Globe for best director and the first Black female director to be nominated for best picture with the acclaimed civil rights drama “Selma.”
Last year, DuVernay was elected to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences board of governors as part of the directors branch.
DuVernay also founded a film collective called Array in 2010. The company is dedicated to amplifying people of color and female directors in the film industry.
- Greta Gerwig
Greta Gerwig made her solo directorial debut in 2017 with “Lady Bird,” which was nominated for five Academy Awards including best picture, best director and best original screenplay.
Her next project, an adaption of “Little Women,” garnered six Oscar nominations including best picture and best adapted screenplay.
She’s now working on a collaboration with her partner Noah Baumbach for a live-action Barbie film starring Margot Robbie.
- Cathy Yan
Cathy Yan started her career as a reporter for the Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal before turning to making short films.
She made her feature debut with the 2018 film “Dead Pigs,” inspired by an incident in 2013 in which thousands of dead pigs were found floating in the Huangpu River in China.
Yan’s next film was “Birds of Prey,” part of DC Comics’ Extended Universe, which featured Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, and was released in early 2020. The film garnered $200 million at the global box office.
Yan is next expected to direct and co-write an adaptation of “Sour Hearts,” based on Jenny Zhang’s short story collection for A24, an independent entertainment company.
- Patty Jenkins
Patty Jenkins made her directorial debut in 2003 with “Monster,” a biographical crime drama about serial killer Aileen Wuornos starring Charlize Theron.
Jenkins subsequently spent a decade working in television. She returned to the big screen with the DC Extended Universe film “Wonder Woman,” which quickly became the highest-grossing film directed by a woman and led to a sequel, “Wonder Woman 1984.”
Jenkins will be at the helm for the third instalment in the franchise and was most recently hired by Disney to direct “Rogue Squadron,” an upcoming Star Wars film centered around the titular squadron of rebel pilots.