Recognizing Women Throughout Oscars History

As we celebrate International Women’s Day and anticipate the upcoming Academy Awards, these are some of the most notable women artists in film.

This year, filmmakers Greta Gerwig, Celine Song, and Justine Triet have set a record at the Oscars. For the first time in history, three of the Best Picture nominees are directed by women.

Out of the 10 movies nominated for Best Picture, seven have women listed as producers. Emma Stone (Poor Things) is only the second woman to be recognized for both Best Picture and Best Actress in the same year.

READ ALSO: Females In Power: 5 Extraordinary Women Who Thrived In Male-Dominated Fields

As we celebrate International Women’s Day and anticipate the upcoming Academy Awards, these are some of the most notable women artists in film.

Winning Women

The woman who holds the most Academy Awards is not an actor, but the costume designer Edith Head. She was nominated 35 times throughout her career and won eight for Best Costume Design.

Actress Ann Miller and costume designer Edith Head
Ann Miller and Edith Head | Image via Wikimedia Commons

Head won her first award in 1949 for the romantic drama film The Heiress. The other films she won for are Samson and Delilah, All About Eve, A Place in the Sun, Roman Holiday, Sabrina, The Facts of Life, and The Sting. With films set in various locations and periods, she was able to showcase her skill and agility in her individual designs.

Katharine Hepburn still holds the record for most Oscar wins in any acting category with four. All of her awards were for Best Actress, proving her status as Hollywood’s leading lady. She won an Oscar early on in her career with Morning Glory (1933). She then went on to win three more times for Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, The Lion in Winter, and On Golden Pond.

Katharine Hepburn's publicity photograph
Katharine Hepburn | Image via Wikimedia Commons

Three actresses have won acting Oscars thrice: Frances McDormand, Ingrid Bergman, and Meryl Streep. While Streep doesn’t hold the record for most Oscar wins, she is the most nominated performer in any acting category, with a total of 21 nominations so far.

Film editor Thelma Schoonmaker has also won an Oscar three times. She’s tied with three men for the most wins in the Best Film Editing category.

Notable Film Debuts

Four women made their mark at the Academy Awards by winning Best Actress for their debut performances in film. These are Shirley Booth (Come Back, Little Sheba), Julie Andrews (Mary Poppins), Barbra Streisand (Funny Girl), and Marlee Matlin (Children of a Lesser God).

Barbra Streisand television special
Barbra Streisand | Image via Wikimedia Commons

The youngest winner for any acting award was Tatum O’Neal at just 10 years old. She won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Paper Moon. Meanwhile, at only six years old, Shirley Temple received the non-competitive Academy Juvenile Award. This makes her the youngest Oscar recipient in history.

Oscar Firsts

In 1973, Julia Phillips was the first female producer to win an Oscar for Best Picture with the film The Sting. “You can imagine what a trip this is for a Jewish girl from Great Neck,” she said in her acceptance speech. “Tonight I get to win an Academy Award and meet Elizabeth Taylor all in the same moment.”

While also nominated this year, Jodie Foster became the first openly LGBTQ+ woman to win the award for Best Actress. She took home the award for her role in the film The Accused (1989). The actress then won a second time for The Silence of the Lambs (1992).

Jodie Foster after her Oscars win | Image by Alan Light via Wikimedia Commons

In 2002, Halle Berry won the Best Actress trophy for her performance in Monster’s Ball, making her the first Black woman to receive the award. To this day, she’s still the only Black Best Actress winner. Last year, Michelle Yeoh also made Oscars history as its first Asian Best Actress.

Just 14 years ago, Kathryn Bigelow was the first woman to ever win Best Director. She won for her film The Hurt Locker in 2010, which she described as “the moment of a lifetime.” Only two other women have taken home the directing award. These are Chloé Zhao for Nomadland and Jane Campion for The Power of the Dog.

Banner image via Wikimedia Commons.

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