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5 History-Making Women to Root For at the 2018 Oscars

Each year, women in Hollywood make history, breaking the celluloid ceiling one crack at a time. The 90th Academy Awards are no different: One woman is poised to become the first to win an Oscar for cinematography, another to be the second to win for directing. Here are all the trailblazers to look out for on Sunday night:

1. Rachel Morrison, Cinematography

32nd Annual American Society Of Cinematographers Awards
Rachel Morrison attends the 32nd Annual American Society Of Cinematographers Awards at The Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 17, 2018 in Hollywood, California. Christopher Polk—Getty Images
Christopher Polk—Getty Images

In January, Morrison became the first woman ever nominated for a cinematography Oscar for her work on Mudbound. And if that’s not enough to convince audiences of her bona fides: She’s also the first woman to shoot a movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe; she was the cinematography for Black Panther (which will be up for an Academy Award next season).

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Why has no woman ever been nominated in this category? At least part of the answer lies in the fact that there are so few women in the profession. According to San Diego State University’s (SDSU) 2017 report from its Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film, just 4% of cinematographers of the top 250 films of 2017 were women.

2. Greta Gerwig, Directing and Original Screenplay

TheWrap's 2018 Women, Whiskey And Wisdom Celebrating Women Oscar Nominees - Arrivals
Actress Greta Gerwig attends TheWrap’s 2018 “Women, Whiskey And Wisdom” event celebrating women Oscar nominees at Teddy’s at The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel on February 21, 2018 in Hollywood, California. Paul Archuleta—FilmMagic
Paul Archuleta—FilmMagic via Getty Images

Gerwig is the only woman nominated for directing and the only solo woman nominated for screenwriting this year (Emily V. Gordon was nominated for the latter alongside her husband, Kumail Nanjiani, for The Big Sick). If she wins the directing award, she’ll be only the second woman in the Academy Awards’ 90-year history to do so. The first and only woman to win an Oscar in that category is Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker. As some viewers have pointed out, Bigelow’s film was a war movie lead by an all-male cast. According to the SDSU report, 11% of directors of the top 250 films last year were female.

3. Mary J. Blige, Supporting Actress and Music (Original Song)

Mary J Blige in Concert - Atlantic City, NJ
Mary J. Blige performs in concert at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa on February 17, 2018 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Donald Kravitz—Getty Images
Donald Kravitz—Getty Images

Blige is the first person in Oscars history to be nominated for both acting and music in the same year—and for the same film. The singer both starred in Mudbound and wrote the film’s nominated song, “Mighty River.” If she wins, she will be the eighth woman of color to win in the Best Supporting Actress category in the award’s 90-year history.

4. Ildikó Enyedi, Foreign Language Film

Glashuette Original Day 6 At The 68th Berlinale International Film Festival
Ildiko Enyedi attends the Glashuette Original Lounge at The 68th Berlinale International Film Festival at Grand Hyatt Hotel on February 20, 2018 in Berlin, Germany.Thomas Lohnes—Getty Images for Glashuette Original
Thomas Lohnes—Getty Images for Glashuette Original

Like Gerwig, Hungarian film-maker Enyedi is the only female director nominated in her category. If her film, On Body and Soul, wins an Academy Award, she will be only the fourth woman to receive the honor. Previous winners of this award are the Netherland’s Marleen Gorris, Germany’s Caroline Link, and Denmark’s Susanne Bier.

5. Tatiana S. Riegel, Film Editing

The 33rd Santa Barbara International Film Festival - Variety Artisan's Awards
Editor Tatiana S. Riegel at the Variety Artisan’s Awards during The 33rd Santa Barbara International Film Festival at Lobero Theatre on February 5, 2018 in Santa Barbara, California. Matt Winkelmeyer—Getty Images for SBIFF
Matt Winkelmeyer—Getty Images for SBIFF

Riegel, the master editor behind I, Tonya, is the only woman nominated in this category this year. That’s pretty much in line with the number of women in top editing roles in the industry overall, according to SDSU: 16% of film editors of the top 250 films were women. While the gender gap in editing is markedly smaller than in directing, the bad news is it’s moving in the wrong direction; in 1998 and 2006, about 20% of top film editors were female.