Emerald Fennell wins best original screenplay, nominated for best director Oscars in feature debut 'Promising Young Woman'

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Monday, April 26, 2021
Golden Globes: 3 women make history with best director nominations
Emerald Fennell, Chloe Zhao and Regina King all received Golden Globe nominations for best director, the first time three women have been nominated for the category.

Coming from a background in acting, Emerald Fennell's first feature film behind the camera, "Promising Young Woman," was nominated for five Oscars. She won best screenplay.

Who is Emerald Fennell?

Coming from a background in acting, Emerald Fennell's first feature film behind the camera, "Promising Young Woman," is nominated for five Oscars.

Fennell herself -- who wrote, directed and produced the comedy-thriller -- is nominated for best director and best original screenplay. The film also has nods for best picture, best actress (Carey Mulligan) and film editing.

She was the first woman to win a screenwriting Oscar since Diablo Cody won with "Juno" in 2008.

Emerald Fennell wins Best Original Screenplay for 'Promising Young Woman.'

RELATED: Oscars Winners 2021: Full list of 2021 Academy Awards

Before her Oscars buzz, the British filmmaker and actress was known for her portrayals of Camilla Parker Bowles in "The Crown" and Nurse Patsy Mount in "Call the Midwife." She also teamed up with Phoebe Waller-Bridge as one of the showrunners for the British spy thriller "Killing Eve."

Fennell's Oscar nominations

Best Director, Best Original Screenplay

Historic nomination

Seventy women received a total of 76 nominations in 2021, a record for a given year, according to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Two -- Fennell and Chloé Zhao ("Nomadland") -- were nominated for best director for the first time.

Only five women have ever been nominated in the category before: Lina Wertmüller ("Seven Beauties," 1977), Jane Campion ("The Piano," 1994), Sofia Coppola ("Lost in Translation," 2004), Kathryn Bigelow ("The Hurt Locker," 2009) and Greta Gerwig ("Lady Bird," 2018). Bigelow is the only woman to have ever won an Oscar for best director.

The other directing nominees for 2021 were Lee Isaac Chung for "Minari," David Fincher for "Mank" and Thomas Vinterberg for "Another Round."

INTERACTIVE: How women are represented in Oscar nominations

What's "Promising Young Woman" about?

"Promising Young Woman" follows former medical student Cassie (Carey Mulligan) as she exacts a unique form of revenge on predatory men who think of themselves as the "nice guy." Alongside Mulligan, Bo Burnham, Alison Brie, Clancy Brown, Jennifer Coolidge, Laverne Cox and Connie Britton co-star.

The film centers around the theme of sexual consent, and Fennell expressed hope the movie could help raise awareness among young people.

"If it makes it a bit easier to have this conversation between boys, between men, between men and women, then that's wonderful," Fennell told the Associated Press.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.