The 2018 Oscars Nominations Saw Several Firsts for Women in Hollywood, Including Greta Gerwig and Mary J. Blige

Is the industry changing oh-so-slowly?

Best Performances 2017 - Greta Gerwig
Photographs by Craig McDean. Styled by Edward Enninful. Hair by Orlando Pita for Orlando Pita Play; makeup by Peter Philips for Dior. Manicures by Michelle Saunders for Essie at Forward Artists. Set design by Piers Hanmer.

According to all available statistics, the movie industry is especially brutal to the careers of women, who are routinely in the minority when it comes to landing jobs behind the camera; the challenges faced by women of color are even greater. But after when the conversation around how women are treated in Hollywood and other industries bubbled to the surface of the culture, there are at least a few bright spots to be found in this morning’s Oscars nominations.

For starters, Greta Gerwig‘s Lady Bird has been nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay, making Gerwig the first female director to land a Best Director nomination for her directorial debut. The indie darling was already an established screenwriter, with credits on projects in which she also starred, like Frances Ha and Mistress America. But Lady Bird represented her first solo foray behind the camera (she previously co-directed 2008’s Nights and Weekends with Joe Swanberg). In addition to breaking this particular barrier, Gerwig is now in the teeny tiny club of five women ever nominated for the prize. She joins a handful of other luminaries like Jane Campion and Sofia Coppola. (The club really ought to have included Dee Rees and Patty Jenkins this year, sigh.) Best Director has been won by a woman only once, in 2010 when Kathryn Bigelow took home the Oscar for The Hurt Locker.

Another crack in the glass ceiling comes courtesy Rachel Morrison, who just became the first and only women ever nominated for Best Cinematography, for her work on Dee Rees’s Mudbound. Yes, that’s right: after 90 years, there is finally one woman nominated in this category. Also nominated for her work in Mudbound is Mary J. Blige, who just became the first women ever to be nominated for Best Supporting Actress for a performance in a film directed by a woman of color, as well as the first woman to be nominated for Best Supporting Actress and Best Original Song in the same year.

Here’s hoping these incredibly talented women go home with some hardware next month, and that the movie industry is actually beginning to become more diverse.

Related: Oscars Nominations 2018: See The Complete List