Emerald Fennell and Chloé Zhao make history with their Academy Awards nominations

Two women make history after being nominated for Best Director at the Academy Awards – but other nominations have confused the masses.

The Academy Awards will make history this year with two women nominated for Best Director – Emerald Fennell for Promising Young Woman and Chloé Zhao for Nomadland.

Zhao, who recently became the first Asian woman to win Best Director at the Golden Globes, has also received Oscar nominations for her role in producing, directing, writing, and editing her third film, Nomadland, starring Frances McDormand.

Chloé Zhao Academy Awards
Image: Vanity Fair

The film focuses on a subculture of Americans forced into modern-day nomadic lives during their economic and social collapse.

On the other hand, Fennell, who many may remember as Camilla Parker Bowles in the television series The Crown, is also nominated for producing and writing the screenplay for Promising Young Woman.

Described as a black comedy about a former medical student who wants to avenge the sexual assault of her best friend – a.k.a., the rape-revenge fantasy of a lifetime – Promising Young Woman Fennell’s first feature film as director, following writing and producing the hit TV series Killing Eve.

Emerald Fennell Academy Awards
Image: United Agents

Both women are up for best director against Lee Isaac Chung for Minari, David Fincher for Mank, and Thomas Vinterburg for Another Round.

In over 90 years, only five women have ever been previously nominated in the category, including Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird), Lina Wertmüller (Seven Beauties), Jane Campion (The Piano), Sofia Coppola (Lost in Translation), and Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker).

If either win, they will join Bigelow, who broke through and won the award for best director with The Hurt Locker.

However, despite the historical nominations in this year’s Academy Awards, many have been left scratching their heads over nominations for the best-supporting actor.

For those who may have watched Judas and the Black Messiah, directed by Shaka King, you’d probably think that either Daniel Kaluuya (Fred Hampton) or LaKeith Stanfield (William O’Neal) were the lead.

Daniel Kaluuya Academy Awards
Image: GQ

Well, no, apparently.

In a move that has stunned social media, both Kaluuya and Stanfield were nominated for Best Supporting Actor, suggesting that Judas and the Black Messiah have no lead actor.

Lakeith Stanfield Academy Awards
Image: Time Out

Judas and the Black Messiah centres around William O’Neal, who, when offered a plea deal by the FBI, infiltrates the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party to gather intelligence on Chairman Fred Hampton.

While some have speculated that submitting both Stanfield and Kaluuya in the supporting category could’ve been an intentional decision by the filmmakers or the actors themselves, the confused Twitter reactions are coming in fast.

This year’s Oscar ceremony will air on Monday, April 26.

Other actors to watch out for this year include Sydney-based Sacha Baron Cohen, who is nominated for both best-adapted screenplay for the cringe-cradling political comedy Borat Subsequent Movie Film, as well as best supporting actor for playing activist Abbie Hoffman in The Trial of the Chicago 7.