Kathryn Bigelow may have been the first female filmmaker to win a Best Director Oscar for 2009′s The Hurt Locker. But did you happen to notice that for the most recent Academy Awards, the nominees in the same category were all men — in a year when two movies directed by women, Winter’s Bone and The Kids Are All Right, were up for Best Picture?
Gender inequalities exist throughout the arts, but they’re especially pronounced in the rarefied world of film directing. We all know a few big-name women filmmakers: Bigelow, Sofia Coppola, Susan Seidelman, Catherine Hardwicke, Nora Ephron, Julie Taymor. In honor of International Women’s Day, we present ten great, contemporary female directors who you may not know but should definitely check out.
Writer/director Nicole Holofcener has spent the past two decades making resonant, personal, independent films that center on the lives of regular women. Balancing drama and insight with a sharp wit, Holofcener coaxes subtle, realistic performances out of her ensemble casts — a talent that earned her (along with her actors and casting directors) a special Robert Altman Award at last month’s Independent Spirit Awards. We’ve also got to give Holofcener a shout out for spotlighting one of our favorite actresses, Catherine Keener, in every single one of her features.