Directors (left to right) Greta Gerwig, Celine Song and Justine Triet made history by crafting three of the 10 Best Picture nominees for the 2024 Academy Awards. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

This year’s Academy Award nominations brought some good news for women directors – for once.

In a first for the nearly-100-year-old ceremony, three Best Picture Oscar nods went to films made by women directors. Specifically, the historic nominations went to feminist smash hit “Barbie,” directed by Greta Gerwig; gripping legal thriller “Anatomy of a Fall,” directed by Justine Triet; and romantic drama “Past Lives,” directed by Celine Song. 

The other seven Best Picture nominees had male directors, including frontrunner historical epic “Oppenheimer,” which was directed by Christopher Nolan, and Martin Scorcese’s investigative drama “Killers of the Flower Moon.”

Yet only Triet received a Best Director nod as well – and she was the only woman nominee in that particular category overall.

The news is still welcome, though, especially following the release of numerous studies that point to a decline in women directors helming top-grossing films. Research from USC Annenberg’s Inclusion Initiative showed that women were in charge of just 12.1% of the 100 top-grossing U.S. films last year – 14 in all. A similar study found that the representation problem extends to other off-camera roles.

It’s also a marked step forward from last year, when the Academy failed to nominate any women for main distinctions. 

Part of that likely comes from the enactment of new diversity standards that mandate the inclusion of women, minorities, members of the LGBTQ community and people with physical or cognitive disabilities in both onscreen and off-screen roles among films submitted for awards consideration.

But for those keeping track, there is much work still to be done. “At this rate, it will take decades for women to reach parity behind the scenes,” Julie Burton, president and CEO of the Women’s Media Center, said in a release on their own study of the matter. “[W]hile women, who are more than half of the population, are producing extraordinary work, they too often are not nominated for these coveted awards which translate into power and opportunity in Hollywood.”

Oscar winners will be announced March 10.