These 6 Award-Winning Black Female Directors in Hollywood are Tackling Institutionalized Stereotypes with Blockbuster Storytelling!

The Academy Awards— also known as the Oscars— shocked audiences around the world with its 2023 nominations announcement. There were some quite blatant snubs to some of the best movies, actors and filmmakers of the year. The most obvious, though, were the nominations for the Best Director Award which was an all-male ensemble. 

This action from the Oscars prompted a bit of a lash-out as disappointed audiences everywhere pointed out the high-quality and successful movies created by female directors in 2022— some of which include Till, The Woman King, and Women Talking.

In this article, we’ll be throwing a spotlight on six female directors in Hollywood—some of which have gotten high accolades and some who we know deserve multiple awards for their work so far.


1. Ava Duvernay

Ava Duvernay is a multi-award-winning and record-breaking director. Her work with the documentary, 13th in 2016 and limited series, When They See Us in 2019 earned her several nominations and awards. 

Among her many accomplishments, she was the first African American woman to win Best Director at Sundance Film Festival, win a Best Director Golden Globe, direct a film nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, and direct a film with a budget over $100 million. 


2.. Gina Prince-Bythewood

Gina Prince-Bythewood’s work with
The Woman King in 2022 was appreciated by global audiences especially Black and African ones as it’s not often you see a historical and epic African tale told and released as a huge Hollywood blockbuster. 

Gina says she “just wants to put us on screen and show our diversity of thought and diversity of our lives. We especially need to see black women reflected up on screen”

At the 28th Critics’ Choice Awards, The Woman King received nominations for Best Costume Design, Best Acting Ensemble, Best Director, and Best Actress for Viola Davis. 


3. Chinonye Chukwu 

The Nigerian-born director is best known for her films, the 2022 movie Till and 2019 movie Clemency. The movie, Till, is about the life story of activist Mamie Till-Bradley whose son was murdered in 1955. 

In 2019, Chinonye became the first black woman to win the Grand Jury Prize(U.S Dramatic) at the Sundance Film Festival. She was also nominated for Outstanding Screenplay, Outstanding Emerging Director, Outstanding First Screenplay, and Outstanding Independent Feature at the Black Reel Awards

Chinonye has recently called out the Oscars for ‘perpetuating an unabashed misogyny towards Black women’ saying that she is “forever in gratitude for the greatest lesson of my life – regardless of any challenges or obstacles, I will always have the power to cultivate my own joy, and it is this joy that will continue to be one of my greatest forms of resistance.”


4. Melina Matsoukas

Melina is more commonly known for being a music video director because of her work on Beyonce’s Formation and Rihanna’s We Found Love. She has however transitioned to Television and Film directing as she directed a number of episodes for the hit T.V show, Insecure and the movie, Queen & Slim in 2019. 

She has been nominated for and won several awards including the Grammys, Emmys, AFCA Award, Black Reels, Directors Guild of America, and the VMAs. 


5. Regina King

Regina King is known as a trifecta talent. One of the reasons is because she has gained remarkable success as an actress, a director and a producer. Another reason is because she has received a Golden Globe award, four Primetime Emmy Awards and an Academy award. 

She has directed episodes of several hit TV shows— Scandal, Shameless, This is us, Insecure— and the feature film, One Night in Miami which she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Director and a Directors Guild of America Award for First Time Feature Film. She is the second black woman to be nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Director. 


6. Kay Oyegun

Kay Oyegun is a writer-director best known for her work in drama series,
This is Us, which has been nominated for several awards including the Primetime Emmys and Black Reels. Kay Oyegun herself has been nominated for the Writer’s Guild of America Award, and won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding writing.

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