Greta Gerwig may only be the fifth woman to have received an Oscar nomination for Best Director (for last year's Lady Bird), but as a female filmmaker, she's part of an illustrious club of visionaries, many of whom too often go unnoticed. Where are all the women directors, you ask? They're working—continuing to create films that impact and shape our culture, and that aren't beholden to the archaic straight male gaze. Here, we've rounded up 35 of these directors, and we can't wait to see more rise up in their company.
1. Patty Jenkins
Fourteen years after she gave Charlize Theron a star vehicle that would steer the actress to a well-deserved Oscar (Monster, 2003), Jenkins returned last summer with Wonder Woman, a certified feminist sensation with the biggest domestic opening of all-time for a female director.
2. Dee Rees
Rees broke onto the scene in 2011 with Pariah (a film that partly reflects the director's own experience as a queer black woman), then continued to crack the norm with Bessie (2015) and last year's Mudbound, the first film to yield an Oscar nomination for a female cinematographer.
3. Jane Campion
One of only five women to be Oscar-nominated for Best Director (for The Piano, 1993), Campion has made a career out of building lush narratives around lead female characters in films like The Portrait of a Lady (1996), In the Cut (2003), Bright Star (2009), and TV's Top of the Lake (2013-17).
4. Sally Potter
Potter is best known for translating Virginia Woolf's Orlando to the screen—and casting Tilda Swinton in the gender-swapping lead role—but she's also experimented with Shakespearean dialogue in Yes (2004) and tackled sociopolitical farce in this year's The Party.
5. Mira Nair
A longtime New Yorker of Indian descent, Nair is one of few filmmakers who's been able to bring a little Bollywood to Hollywood (with beloved gems like 2001's Monsoon Wedding), while also tackling political dramas and thrillers like The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2012) and “India,” her contribution to the short-film anthology 11 '9 “01 September 11.
6. Greta Gerwig
Gerwig has been inching her way toward directing since she co-wrote her arthouse breakout Hannah Takes the Stairs (2007). Last year, after starring in dozens of mumblecore hits and movies by her partner, Noah Baumbach, she released Lady Bird, her feel-good directorial debut, which landed her an Oscar nod.
7. Stacie Passon
After her 2013 film Concussion—about a married lesbian who takes up escorting—won her plaudits from the Sundance and Berlin Film Festivals, Passon, who's also queer, has directed episodes of Transparent and The Last Tycoon. Her next movie, We Have Always Lived in the Castle, is now in post-production.
8. Ava DuVernay
After establishing a career in movie marketing, DuVernay shifted her goals to making movies herself, landing an award at Sundance for her sophomore feature, Middle of Nowhere (2012), and gaining increased acclaim for her follow-ups, Selma (2014), 13th(2016), and A Wrinkle in Time—all of which have helped make her one of history's most celebrated directors of color.
9. Lisa Cholodenko
Cholodenko has long catered to a queer audience, starting with her breakout feature High Art (1998), and continuing with the sexually fluid Laurel Canyon (2002) and The Kids Are All Right (2010), which rose from the festival circuit to Oscar's attention, primarily netting acclaim for Annette Bening's lead performance as a lesbian mother of two.
10. Amma Assante
A British-born filmmaker of Ghanaian descent, Assante released her first feature, A Way of Life, in 2004, and followed it with 2013's successful, black-led costume drama Belle, and this year's Where Hands Touch, featuring former Out100 honoree Amandla Stenberg.
11. Sofia Coppola
As Hollywood royalty, Coppola has always used her privileged perceptions of celebrity to inform her films, from The Virgin Suicides (1999) and Lost in Translation (2003) to Marie Antoinette (2006) and The Bling Ring (2013). Her last film, 2017's The Beguiled, was a rare departure, but it did see her delve into the familiar territories of female agency and the dark sides of sisterhood.
12. Nancy Meyers
Meyers went solo after she split from her longtime partner Charles Shyer in 1999, going on to write and direct the rom-com favorites Something's Gotta Give (2003), The Holiday (2006), It's Complicated (2009), and The Intern (2015).
13. Susanne Bier
Danish filmmaker Bier grabbed Hollywood's attention with her international hit After the Wedding (2006), won an Oscar for the dramatic thriller In a Better World (2010), went to swoon-worthy places with Love Is All You Need (2012), and will direct Sandra Bullock in this year's horror flick Bird Box.
14. Sam Taylor-Johnson
Taylor-Johnson has had to transcend tabloid fodder about her May-December romance with actor Aaron Taylor-Johnson (whom she directed in 2009's Nowhere Boy), and she's done so by helming the global smash Fifty Shades of Grey (2015) and A Million Little Pieces, now in production.
15. Cathy Yan
Following a background in short films, Yan has been making big headlines this year, first with her award-winning Sundance favorite Dead Pigs, and then with the news that she'll be helming the Harley Quinn vehicle Birds of Prey, a job that makes her the first female Asian-American to direct a mainstream superhero film.
16. Angelina Jolie
Not every A-list actress can successfully slip into the director's chair, but Jolie has used her power and worldly wisdom to helm weighty, topical dramas, from her freshman feature In the Land of Blood and Honey (2011) to the war drama Unbroken (2014) and the romance By the Sea (2015), co-starring her ex-husband, Brad Pitt.
17. Julie Taymor
Taymor is best known for her lush and ambitious Broadway productions (from The Lion King to Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark), but she's also brought grand theatricality to the screen, with movies like Frida (2002), Across the Universe (2007), The Tempest (2010), and her twisted opus, Titus (1999).
18. Miranda July
Artist, writer, performer, and filmmaker July is too twee and quirky for some people's tastes, but she's an undeniable original, offering something avant garde and terribly human with both Me and You and Everyone We Know (2005) and The Future (2011).
19. Agnès Varda
At 89, French filmmaking legend Varda is still delivering stellar, inimitable work, following such classics as Cléo From 5 to 7 (1962), Vagabond (1985), and The Gleaners and I (2000) with last year's Faces Places, which sees her roam rural France with young artist and photographer JR.
20. Jennifer Lee
The juggernaut phenomenon of Frozen put its co-director Lee on the map, and made her—shockingly—the first female of Walt Disney Animated Studios feature (it also won her an Oscar). Lee also wrote the script for this year's A Wrinkle in Time, and next year, she'll re-team with her co-director Chris Buck to helm Frozen 2.
21. Angela Robinson
Robinson, a black lesbian filmmaker, cut her teeth creating shorts and many episodes of The L Word (from 2004-2009), and made a splash with her queer, cult action-comedy D.E.B.S. (2004). Last year, she made the other Wonder Woman movie, Professor Marston and the Wonder Women, an origin tale with polyamorous queer relationships.
22. Penny Marshall
Marshall hasn't directed a movie since 2001's Boys on the Side, but she's surely earned her place on this list, having brought you such beloved modern classics as Big (1988), Awakenings (1990), and the game-changing girls' baseball flick A League of Their Own (1992).
23. Sarah Polley
A master filmmaker with talent well beyond her years, actress-turned-director Polley emerged with the stellar debut feature Away From Her (2006)—which netted an Oscar nod for star Julie Christie—then only climbed higher artistically with Take This Waltz (2011) and the highly personal doumentary Stories We Tell (2012).
24. Lynne Ramsay
A known rebel in the film community, Ramsay made a major impact with her one-two punch of Ratcatcher (1999) and Morvern Callar (2002), then went on to make the highly polarizing We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011). Her latest film, You Were Never Really Here, was just released.
25. Mary Harron
Harron has always been attracted to the dark and the bloody, and her predilection has resulted in such obsessed-over flicks as I Shot Andy Warhol (1996) and American Psycho (2000). Her next movie, Charlie Says (now in production), surrounds the actions of Charles Manson.
26. Kathryn Bigelow
Bigelow deserved major kudos early in her career, having made such daring films as Point Break (1991) and Near Dark (1987), but she entered a whole new ballgame with The Hurt Locker (2008), a wartime nail-biter that made the first (and still only) female to win an Oscar for Best Director.
27. Catherine Hardwicke
An eternal wild child, Hardwicke has never been able to re-create the gritty magic of her breakout film Thirteen (2003), but she's still managed to channel her fiery femme verve into Lords of Dogtown (2005), Twilight (2008), Plush (2013), and Miss You Already (2015).
28. Amy Heckerling
In truth, Heckerling, the woman behind Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982) and Look Who's Talking (1989), could have stopped making films after her vastly influential Clueless (1995). But she pressed on, reteaming with Alicia Silverstone for Vamps (2012), and directing TV series like The Office and Red Oaks.
29. Niki Caro
New Zealand-born Caro's big break was 2003's Whale Rider, which, like her 2005 follow-up North Country, earned a Best Actress nomination for its lead star. Since then, Caro has released McFarland, USA (2015), with Kevin Costner, and last year's The Zookeeper's Wife, starring Jessica Chastain.
30. Barbra Streisand
Lately, the legendary Streisand has been playing motherly roles in films like The Guilt Trip (2012) and Little Fockers (2010), but she's also directed herself in The Prince of Tides (1991), The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996), and the beloved Yentl (1983), which made her the first woman to win a Golden Globe for Best Director.
31. Andrea Arnold
In 2005, Arnold won an Oscar for her short film Wasp, and that opened the doors for an ongoing output of enticing features, from the angsty Fish Tank (2009) to 2016's indie smash American Honey, both of which turned their lead stars into buzz-worthy actresses.
32. Debra Granik
Granik first caught viewer's attention with her sleeper hit Down to the Bone (2004), which featured Vera Farmiga as a tormented addict, but Winter's Bone (2010), the thriller that made Jennifer Lawrence's career is Granik's masterpiece. Her next film, Leave No Trace, opens this summer.
33. Nicole Holofcener
Indie darling Holofcener is probably best known for imbuing heart into bougie movies about first-world female problems. She's done it especially well in Friends with Money (2006), Please Give (2010), and Enough Said (2013). This year, she'll release the dramedy The Land of Steady Habits.
34. Claire Denis
Among legendary French auteur Denis's movie milestones are Chocolat (1988), the queer classic Beau Travail (1999), and the more recent Isabelle Huppert drama White Material (2009). Her new film, High Life, starring Robert Pattinson, opens this year.
35. Kelly Reichardt
Quite possibly the shrewdest American female director working today, Reichardt takes backdrops of the U.S. heartland and fills them with characters, themes, metaphors, and motifs that are deceptively simple yet staggeringly layered. All of her features—Old Joy (2006), Wendy and Lucy (2008_, Meek's Cutoff (2010), Night Moves (2013), and Certain Women (2016)—are must-sees.