Directors and Producers Tighten Race in Historic Season for Female Directors

Frances McDormand and Chloé Zhao on the set of NOMADLAND

This week, two major guilds added their nominations to the conversation. The Producers Guild (PGA) and the Directors Guild (DGA) each announced their selections for the top producers and directors, thus narrowing the field to a collection of fewer than 15 films that are still likely to go on to Oscars.

With Oscar nomination ballots due Wednesday, these guilds are the final two which lend their voices to any lingering voters who are waiting until the last minute to hit “submit.”

The Directors Guild makes history twice over this year. As Variety’s Clayton Davis notes, Chloé Zhao and Emerald Fennell are now the ninth and tenth women ever nominated for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in film while Regina King and Radha Blank are the sixth and seventh women nominated for First Time Director. It should be pointed out, though, that the DGA has been awarding directors for 73 years, but the First Feature category wasn’t added until 2015, so their track record with women’s debuts is a bit better than their overall history.

Between the DGA and the Producers Guild weighing in, the races for both Best Picture and Best Animated Feature seem to have narrowed to a likely lineup of 8 to 9 nominees out of a remaining collection of 11 to 12 films. The category for Best Director has also tightened to a race of 6 or 7. We’ll find out on Monday who the honored nominees are when the Academy announces the Oscar nominations on March 15.

Here are the nominees for the DGA and PGA Awards:

73rd DGA Nominees

(l to r) Carey Mulligan, writer/director Emerald Fennell, Laverne Cox and Bo Burnham on the set of the new movie “Promising Young Woman.”

Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures

  • Lee Isaac Chung, “Minari” (A24)
  • Emerald Fennell, “Promising Young Woman” (Focus Features)
  • David Fincher, “Mank” (Netflix)Unit Production Manager: Allen Kupetsky
  • Aaron Sorkin, “The Trial of the Chicago 7” (Netflix)
  • Chloé Zhao, “Nomadland” (Searchlight Pictures)

Outstanding Directorial Achievement of a First-Time Feature Film Director

  • Radha Blank, “The Forty-Year-Old Version” (Netflix)
  • Fernando Frias de la Parra, “I’m No Longer Here” (Netflix)
  • Regina King, “One Night in Miami” (Amazon Studios)
  • Darius Marder, “Sound of Metal” (Amazon Studios)
  • Florian Zeller, “The Father” (Sony Pictures Classics)

Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentaries

  • “Boys State” (A24/Apple TV+) – Amanda McBaine, Jesse Moss
  • “The Truffle Hunters” (Sony Pictures Classics) – Michael Dweck, Gregory Kershaw
  • “My Octopus Teacher” (Netflix) – Pippa Ehrlich, James Reed
  • “The Painter and the Thief” (Neon/Elevation Pictures) – Benjamin Ree
  • “Welcome to Chechnya” (HBO) – David France

32nd PGA Nominees

Daniel Kaluuya is “Chairman Fred Hampton” in JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH — Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures

  • Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” (Amazon Studios)
    Producers: Sacha Baron Cohen, Monica Levinson, Anthony Hines
  • Judas and the Black Messiah” (Warner Bros)
    Producers: Charles D. King, Ryan Coogler, Shaka King
  • Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” (Netflix)
    Producers: Denzel Washington, Todd Black
  • Mank” (Netflix)
    Producers: Ceán Chaffin, Eric Roth, Douglas Urbanski
  • Minari” (A24)
    Producer: Christina Oh
  • Nomadland” (Searchlight Pictures)
    Producers: Mollye Asher, Dan Janvey, Frances McDormand, Peter Spears, Chloé Zhao
  • One Night in Miami” (Amazon Studios)
    Producers: Jess Wu Calder, Keith Calder, Jody Klein
  • Promising Young Woman” (Focus Features)
    Producers: Josey McNamara, Ben Browning, Ashley Fox, Emerald Fennell
  • Sound of Metal” (Amazon Studios)
    Producers: Bert Hamelinck, Sacha Ben Harroche
  • The Trial of the Chicago 7” (Netflix)
    Producers: Marc Platt, Stuart Besser

Award for Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures

  • The Croods: A New Age” (DreamWorks Animation)
    Producer: Mark Swift
  • Onward” (Pixar)
    Producer: Kori Rae
  • Over the Moon” (Netflix)
    Producers: Gennie Rim, Peilin Chou
  • Soul” (Pixar)
    Producer: Dana Murray
  • Wolfwalkers” (Apple TV Plus/GKIDS)
  • Producers: Paul Young, Nora Twomey, Tomm Moore, Stéphan Roelants

Norman Felton Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television

  • Better Call Saul” (AMC) – Season 5
    Producers: eligibility determination pending
  • Bridgerton” – (Netflix) – Season 1
    Producers: eligibility determination pending
  • The Crown” (Netflix) – Season 4
    Producers: Peter Morgan, Suzanne Mackie, Stephen Daldry, Andy Harries, Benjamin Caron, Matthew Byam Shaw, Robert Fox, Michael Casey, Andy Stebbing, Martin Harrison, Oona O’Beirn
  • The Mandalorian” (Disney Plus) – Season 2
    Producers: Jon Favreau, Dave Filoni, Kathleen Kennedy, Colin Wilson, Karen Gilchrist, John Bartnicki, Carrie Beck
  • Ozark” (Netflix) – Season 3
    Producers: Jason Bateman, Chris Mundy, Bill Dubuque, Mark Williams, Patrick Markey, John Shiban, Miki Johnson, Matthew Spiegel, Erin Mitchell, Martin Zimmerman, Peter Thorell

Danny Thomas Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television – Comedy

  • Curb Your Enthusiasm” (HBO) – Season 10
    Producers: eligibility determination pending
  • The Flight Attendant” (HBO Max) – Season 1
    Producers: Greg Berlanti, Kaley Cuoco, Steve Yockey, Meredith Lavender, Marcie Ullin, Sarah Schechter, Suzanne McCormack, Jess Meyer, Raymond Quinlan, Jennifer Lence, Erika Kennair
  • Schitt’s Creek” (Pop TV) – Season 6
    Producers: Eugene Levy, Daniel Levy, Andrew Barnsley, Fred Levy, David West Read, Ben Feigin, Michael Short, Kurt Smeaton, Kosta Orfanidis
  • Ted Lasso” (Apple TV Plus) – Season 1
    Producers: Bill Lawrence, Jason Sudeikis, Jeff Ingold, Bill Wrubel, Liza Katzer, Jane Becker, Jamie Lee, Kip Kroeger, Brendan Hunt, Tina Pawlik, Joe Kelly
  • What We Do in the Shadows” (FX) – Season 2
    Producers: Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi, Paul Simms, Scott Rudin, Garrett Basch, Eli Bush, Stefani Robinson, Sam Johnson, Marika Sawyer, Derek S. Rappaport

David L. Wolper Award for Outstanding Producer of Limited Series Television

  • I May Destroy You” (HBO)
    Producers: eligibility determination pending
  • Normal People” (Hulu)
    Producers: Lenny Abrahamson, Sally Rooney, Ed Guiney, Andrew Lowe, Emma Norton, Anna Ferguson, Catherine Magee
  • The Queen’s Gambit” (Netflix)
    Producers: William Horberg, Allan Scott, Scott Frank, Marcus Loges, Mick Aniceto
  • The Undoing” (HBO)
    Producers: Susanne Bier, David E. Kelley, Per Saari, Nicole Kidman, Bruna Papandrea, Stephen Garrett, Celia Costas, Deb Dyer
  • Unorthodox” (Netflix)
    Producers: Anna Winger, Henning Kamm, Alexa Karolinksi

Award for Outstanding Producer of Televised or Streamed Motion Pictures

  • Bad Education” (HBO)
    Producers: Fred Berger, Eddie Vaisman
  • Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square
    Producers: eligibility determination pending
  • Hamilton” (Disney+)
    Producers: Thomas Kail, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jeffrey Seller
  • Jane Goodall: The Hope
    Producers: eligibility determination pending
  • What the Constitution Means To Me
    Producers: eligibility determination pending

Award for Outstanding Producer of Non-Fiction Television

  • 60 Minutes” (CBS) – Season 53
    Producer: Bill Owens
  • The Last Dance” (ESPN) – Season 1
    Producers: eligibility determination pending
  • Laurel Canyon” (EPIX)
    Producers: eligibility determination pending
  • McMillion$” (HBO) – Season 1
    Producers: eligibility determination pending
  • Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness” (Netflix)
    Producers: eligibility determination pending

Award for Outstanding Producer of Live Entertainment & Talk Television

  • 8:46 – Dave Chappelle (Special)” (Netflix)
    Producers: eligibility determination pending
  • The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” (Comedy Central) – Season 26
    Producers: eligibility determination pending
  • Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” (HBO) – Season 7
    Producers: eligibility determination pending
  • The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” (CBS) – Season 6
    Producers: eligibility determination pending
  • Saturday Night Live” (NBC) – Season 46
    Producers: eligibility determination pending

Award for Outstanding Producer of Game & Competition Television

  • The Amazing Race” (CBS) – Season 32
    Producers: Jerry Bruckheimer, Bertram van Munster, Jonathan Littman, Elise Doganieri, Mark Vertullo, Phil Keoghan
  • The Masked Singer” (FOX) – Season 3, Season 4
    Producers: eligibility determination pending
  • Nailed It!” (Netflix) – Season 4
    Producers: eligibility determination pending
  • RuPaul’s Drag Race” ( (Season 12)
    Producers: eligibility determination pending
  • The Voice” (NBC) – Season 18, Season 19
    Producers: eligibility determination pending

The 32nd Annual PGA Awards will be held virtually on Saturday, March 24.

The 73rd Annual DGA Awards ceremony will be held on Saturday, April 10 and details will be forthcoming.

Written by
Karen Peterson is the Awards Editor for We Live Entertainment. She previously worked as the Assistant Editor at Awards Circuit, now owned by Variety. Her work can also be found at Citizen Dame and at the Watch and Talk podcast. Her non-awards season hobbies include Angels baseball, taking pictures of other peoples' pets, and tweeting about The Bachelor franchise.

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