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We are now in the time of year where there’s a different awards show every Sunday for a month and a half. During these shows, spanning from the Emmy Awards to the Academy Awards, there is a grand total of 151 different awards given out. Considering the fact that these shows have been going on for as long as they have, you would think we’d be out of opportunities for historic winners, but so many firsts have come in recent years, especially for women.
These are 10 of those female winners who were the first and record holders at awards shows.
Barbara Streisand is best known for her music and her acting roles, such as her Oscar-winning role in ‘Funny Girl’, but she also held the title of the only woman to have won a Golden Globe for Best Director. She won the award in 1983 for ‘Yentl’, for which she also won the award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy. Until 2021, she was the only woman to have won the award for directing.
Chloé Zhao made history in February as the second woman to win the Best Director Golden Globe in its 78 years for her masterful film ‘Nomadland’. She is also the first Asian woman to win this award and won in a year where a record number of women (three) were up for the Best Director award. As of February 15th, Zhao surpassed director Alexander Payne as the most awarded person in a single award season with ‘Sideways’, having won over 40 awards for writing, directing, and producing ‘Nomadland’.
The Oscars have been handing out awards for 92 years and in that time, only five women have been nominated for Best Director: Lina Wertmüller in 1977, Jane Campion in 1994, Sophia Coppola in 2003, Kathryn Bigelow in 2008, and Greta Gerwig in 2018. Bigelow is the first one of these five women to have actually won the award, winning and making history in 2008 for her film ‘The Hurt Locker’ which also won Best Picture. As of now, she is still the only woman to have won Best Director.
When talking about making history at the Oscars you can’t leave out Halle Berry. Berry became the first Black woman to win Best Actress at the 74th Academy Awards for her role in ‘Monster’s Ball’ in 2002 as a woman unknowingly in a relationship with the man who executed her husband. Of all the winners of Best Actress in 92 years, she is still the only Black woman to have ever won this award and one of 12 Black women to ever be nominated for it.
Viola Davis is the first Black woman to win in an Outstanding Lead Actress category at the Emmys, where she won Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series in 2015 for playing Annalise Keating on the first season of ‘How To Get Away With Murder’. She was nominated a total of five times for that role (four times as Lead Actress in a Drama Series and once for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series). Davis, along with being the first Black woman to win this category, is also only one of eight Black women to ever be nominated in the Lead Actress in a Drama Series.
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Sandra Oh is the first Asian woman to win a Golden Globe, winning Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Miniseries, or Television Film for her role as Cristina Yang in ‘Grey’s Anatomy’. She is also the first Asian woman to win Best Actress in a Television Series Drama for her turn as Eve Polastri in the first season of ‘Killing Eve’. These two wins make her the only Asian woman to have won two Golden Globe trophies.
Helen Hayes was the first woman to become an EGOT, someone who has won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony. She won her Emmy for Best Actress in 1953 for ‘Schlitz Playhouse of Stars’ and her Grammy in 1976 for Best Spoken Word Album for reading ‘Great American Documents’. She won two Oscars during her career, her first one being Best Actress in 1931 for ‘The Sin of Madelon Claudet’ and her second one being Best Supporting Actress for ‘Airport’ in 1971. She won two Tonys for Best Actress, Dramatic in 1947 and 1958 for ‘Happy Birthday’ and ‘Time Remembered’. She also holds the title for the longest time to complete the EGOT, with 45 years between her first Oscar and her Grammy.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus currently holds three records at the Primetime Emmy Awards. She holds the record for most Emmy nominations for acting in any category. Louis-Dreyfus also holds records for most acting Emmy wins, having won for ‘Seinfeld’, ‘The New Adventures of Old Christine’, and ‘Veep’. Her third record is having won the most Emmy awards for the same show and character, with six wins for playing Selina Meyer.
There is one star of stage and screen who shines on both but holds a special record when it comes to her work on the stage. Audra McDonald is the record holder at the Tony Awards for having the most acting wins for both plays and musicals with six wins in four different acting categories. She won Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical in 1994 and 1998 for ‘Carousel’ and ‘Ragtime’. She received the Tony for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play in 1996 and 2004 for ‘Master Class’ and ‘A Raisin in the Sun’. Her last two were Best Performance by a Lead Actress in a Musical in 2012 for ‘Porgy and Bess’ and Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play in 2014 for ‘Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill’.
It’s impossible to have a list of award show records for women and not include Meryl Streep. Streep holds the record for most acting nominations at the Oscars with 21 nominations and the most Golden Globe nominations with a whopping 34 nominations. She also holds the record for most acting Golden Globe wins with eight wins (nine if you count the Cecil B. DeMille Award), having won Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture in 1979 and 2002 for ‘Kramer vs. Kramer’ and ‘Adaptation’.
She won Best Actress in a Motion Picture Drama in 1981, 1982, and 2011 for ‘The French Lieutenant’s Woman’, ‘Sophie’s Choice’, and ‘The Iron Lady’, respectively. She won Best Actress in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy in 2006 and 2009 for ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ and ‘Julie and Julia’, respectively. She also received Best Actress in a Miniseries or Motion Picture for Television in 2003 for ‘Angels in America’ and the Cecil B. DeMille Award in 2016.
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Caroline Schneider has always had a fascination with television and film. She revels in analyzing and writing about her favorite television shows and movies while looking for the greater meaning within Cinema. Finding the elements that really make people think about deeper messages and trends – which is exactly what Hollywood Insider continues to do.