CATEGORIES Oscar News, Awards
As old boys clubs go, the collection of people who've either won the Oscar for best directing, or have at least been considered, is not a very inclusive group, with only three female directors getting nominated for the prize in Academy Awards history.

As Variety noted Monday, that number could increase significantly this year, with at least half a dozen movies with women directors being promoted by their respective studios for Oscar consideration. As old boys clubs go, the collection of people who've either won the Oscar for best directing, or have at least been considered, is not a very inclusive group, with only three female directors getting nominated for the prize in Academy Awards history.

As Variety noted Monday, that number could increase significantly this year, with at least half a dozen movies with women directors being promoted by their respective studios for Oscar consideration.

While the trade neglected to mention any of these hopefuls specifically, nomination-worthy female directors who come immediately to mind this year include Lone Scherfig ('An Education'), Nora Ephron ('Julie and Julia'), Kathryn Bigelow ('The Hurt Locker'), Jane Campion ('Bright Star') and Rebecca Miller ('The Private Lives of Pippa Lee').

Meanwhile, in a year featuring an expanded field of best-picture candidates -- and a wider consideration tent overall because of that -- directors like Anna Fletcher ('The Proposal') could also be considered as long shots.

For Oscar, having even one of the aforementioned film directors make the short list would mark an unusual year.

The last women to be nominated for the prize was Sofia Coppola (for 'Lost in Translation') back in 2003 (and she was the only American to ever be tapped for the trophy). Before that, New Zealander Campion was nominated in 1993 for 'The Piano,' while Italy's Lina Wertmuller garnered consideration back in 1976 for 'Seven Beauties.'

According to the Variety article, the number of female directors in Hollywood isn't necessarily increasing. The report cites data compiled by the Center for the Study of Women in Television, which found that only 9 percent of the top 250 grossing American films last year had female directors -- a figure that was flat with 1998.