Women Dominating the Oscars in the 2020s!

Females are making historical strides in Hollywood, from Chloé Zhao and Jane Champion winning Best Director to Michelle Yeoh winning Best Actress.

As we near awards season, it’s time to highlight the Academy Award ceremonies with a female-focused lens. Women have made history across multiple categories in just the first four years of the decade. Women have also continued to receive well-deserved first-time nominations across the board. Here are just some of the great accomplishments from these amazing women.

92nd Academy Awards – 2020

The groundwork for future historic wins was laid in 2020, with women scoring a record 31% of nominations overall.

Hildur Guðnadóttir became the seventh female to be nominated for, and the third to win, Best Orginal Score for her work in the Joker.

Although she didn’t win, Greta Gerwig was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay for Little Women, making it her third Oscar nomination.

A film by and about women won Best Short Subject Documentary. Carol Dysinger and Elena Andreicheva received the Oscar for their film Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl).

93rd Academy Awards – 2021

2021 was a revolutionary year for female filmmakers. Two out of the five nominated directors were women. Chloé Zhao won Best Director for Nomandland, making history as the first woman of color and the second female to ever win in this category. Zhao received four nominations that night, making her the most nominated woman in a single year. Emerald Fennell was nominated in the directing category for her debut feature film, Promising Young Woman; however, she walked home with a different award that night. She was the only female nominated for Best Orginal Screenplay and won the night’s first award, making her the first woman in 13 years to win a screenwriting Oscar.

It was also a night of firsts in the Best Supporting Actress category. Yuh-Jung got her first nomination and won her role in Minari, becoming the first Korean actress to win in this caterogry. Amanda Seyfried’s (Mank) and Maria Bakalova’s (Borat Subsequent Moviefilm) also earned their first nominations.

Ann Roth won the award for Best Costume Design for her stunning work in Ma Raney’s Black Bottom. H.E.R. took home the award for Best Orignal Song for “Fight For You,” which was featured in Judas and the Black Massiah.

94th Academy Awards – 2022

2022 was another historic Oscar year as a woman won Best Director for the second year in a row. Jane Champion left the Dolby Theatre with an Academy Award for her film The Power of the Dog, making her the third female to ever win in this category. Champion was also nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay alongside two more women, Maggie Gyllenhall for The Lost Daughter and winner Siân Heder for CODA.

Ariana Derose’s first nomination for West Side Story left her holding her Academy Award high above her head. She made Oscar history as the first openly queer woman of color to win an award.

It was the first win for Jessica Chastain, who, after being nominated for a third time, won Best Actress in a Leading Role for The Eyes of Tammy Faye.

Jenny Beavan won Best Costume Design for her intricate designs for Cruella. Billie Eilish won Best Original Song for her and Finneas’ “No Time to Die” for the James Bond film No Time to Die.

95th Academy Awards – 2023

Last year’s Oscars stirred some controversy, with females being snubbed once again in the Best Director category. However, females swept the other categories with wins and first-time nominations. Sarah Polley was the only female nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay and rightfully took home the Academy Award for her film Woman Talking.

Michelle Yeoh made history with her first nomination and win as the first Asian woman to win Best Actress in a Leading Role in Everything Everywhere All at Once.

The Best Supporting Actress category was full of first-time nominees. Jamie Lee Curtis won her first Oscar for Everything Everywhere All at Once after acting for nearly 50 years. It was also Hong Chau’s first nomination for The Whale and Kerry Condon’s first for The Banshees of Inisherin.

Lastly, Ruth Carter won Best Costume Design for her visionary outfits in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

Women are sure to make more historic firsts in 2024 and continue to amaze us…. Stay tuned!

About the Author

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Jessica McCrorie

Jessica McCrorie is a junior at Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, studying screenwriting and broadcast journalism. When she’s not writing for AfterBuzz TV or Heal Squad x Maria Menounos, she enjoys exploring her other creative outlets and interests, including filmmaking, reading romance novels, playing guitar, and listening to Taylor Swift.