Viola Davis, Chloe Zhao and Emerald Fennell help women make Oscar history

Laura Harding, PA Deputy Entertainment Editor
·1-min read

Women made history with the Oscar nominations on Monday, with Viola Davis becoming the first black woman with two best actress nominations, while two female filmmakers were recognised in the directing category.

Davis, who has previously won a supporting actress prize for Fences, is nominated in the leading actress category for her role as a jazz singer in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.

She has previously picked up a best actress nomination for her turn in The Help and a supporting nod for Doubt.

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Her fourth nomination makes her the most-nominated black actress ever, as well as the only black woman with two best actress nominations.

For the first time in the Academy Awards’ history, more than one female director has been nominated in the best director category – Chloe Zhao for Nomadland and Emerald Fennell for Promising Young Woman.

They are only the sixth and seventh women to ever be nominated, and Zhao is the first Asian woman, while Fennell is the first British woman.

Women nominated for best director at the Oscars
(PA Graphics)

Only one woman has won the prize – Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker.

Women also made history in the make-up and hairstyling category, as Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson became the first black women to be recognised for their work on Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.