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Why This Is Already a Record-Setting Oscars Season for Women

January 24, 2017, 7:20 PM UTC

Meryl Streep, Viola Davis, and Joi McMillon are just a few of the women who scored Oscars nominations Tuesday. And though the winners won’t be revealed until Feb. 26, these women are already making history.

For Streep, the Best Actress nomination for her performance in Florence Foster Jenkins marks her 20th Academy Award nomination, officially making her the most nominated performer in Oscars history. Streep won her first award in 1979 for Best Supporting Actress in Kramer vs. Kramer, followed by an Oscar for Best Actress in both Sophie’s Choice in 1983 and Iron Lady in 2012. To express her excitement after hearing the news, Streep’s publicist sent an appropriate GIF on her behalf.

Actress Viola Davis also made history Tuesday after receiving her third Oscars nomination — the first and only black actress to do so. Davis is up for Best Actress for her performance in Fences and was previously nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Doubt, as well as Best Actress for her performance in The Help.

The How to Get Away with Murder star (for which she won an Emmy in 2012) has already won a Golden Globe for her performance in Fences. Before Fences was a movie, it was a play, and Davis won a Tony Award for that performance too. So if she wins next month, she’ll only need a Grammy to achieve EGOT status, notes Mic — the title reserved for actors with an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony Award.


Previously, Davis tied Whoopi Goldberg for the most nominations for a black actress, who was nominated in 1986 for The Color Purple and in 1991 for Ghost. Goldberg won the Oscar for the latter (and is one of only 12 people to EGOT).

“Thank you to the Academy for recognizing this extraordinary, important film and my work in it. Thank you Denzel [Washington] for being at the helm!,” Davis said after hearing the news, according to E! News.

Then there’s Joi McMillon, who is the first black woman to earn an Oscar nomination in film editing, according to the Hollywood Reporter. She was nominated alongside her fellow editor, Nat Sanders, for Moonlight, which won the Golden Globe for Best Drama Motion Picture.

Other women nominated for Oscars include Emma Stone for Best Actress for La La Land, which is now tied with Titanic for the most-ever nominations; Ruth Negga for Best Actress in Loving; Nicole Kidman for Best Supporting Actress for Lion; Naomi Harris for Best Supporting Actress for Moonlight; and Octavia Spencer for Best Supporting Actress for Hidden Figures.

While the 2017 Oscars nominees are more diverse than in previous years, the film industry still has a ways to go: This year’s announcement marks the seventh consecutive year that a woman has not been included in the list of Best Director nominees, the Huffington Post reports. Kathryn Bigelow is the most recent woman director to be nominated for (and win) an Oscar for The Hurt Locker in 2010. And while six nominees for black actors is an Oscar record, it’s a small step in the right direction. Already, Twitter users were rallying around Taraji P. Henson who they felt was snubbed for a Best Actress nomination. The Empire actress stars in Hidden Figures alongside Spencer and Janelle Monae.

Click here to see a full list of this year’s nominees.