Regina King (pictured), Emerald Fennell and Chloe Zhao received best directing nods for the 2021 Golden Globe Awards. (Credit: Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons)

The Golden Globes have not traditionally celebrated women directors — to put it mildly.

In fact, before 2021, only five had ever earned nominations for best direction of a motion picture. But this year, three women were nominated for their work — a first in Golden Globes history, despite the fact that the awards were established in 1944.

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The outstanding women honorees are Emerald Fennell, who directed feminist thriller “Promising Young Woman;” Regina King, for her work at the helm “One Night in Miami,” which depicts a fictional conversation between several historical Black men; and Chloe Zhao, director of contemporary Western film “Nomadland.”

The Golden Globes, which are decided upon by members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, have been criticized frequently for a long-time failure to include women nominees for off-camera work. But it’s a problem that extends to other major arts awards — for example, only 30 percent of non-acting nominations went to women for the 2020 Academy Awards.

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This year’s nominations point to possible increased awareness of the problem, as well as appreciation for the work women directors do. Plus, governing bodies are trying to effect change directly. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences released new diversity standards, which films must meet both onscreen and behind the scenes starting in 2024 in order to be considered for an Oscar.

Winners of the Golden Globes will be announced February 28.

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