In this file photo Emerald Fennell attends the 2020 Sundance Film Festival - "Promising Young Woman" Premiere at The Marc Theatre in Park City, Utah.-AFP photos

A year after omitting women entirely, Hollywood's directors Tuesday nominated two female filmmakers for their top prize for the first time in the awards' seven-decade history. "Nomadland" director Chloe Zhao and "Promising Young Woman" Helmer Emerald Fennell become the ninth and tenth women nominated for the Directors Guild of America's outstanding feature film category. "I congratulate our five nominees whose diverse and extraordinary films embodied that universal power in a year that will never be forgotten," said DGA president Thomas Schlamme in a statement.

Beijing-born Zhao and British director Fennell are joined on the diverse shortlist by Lee Isaac Chung, who drew on his Korean-American immigrant family history for acclaimed drama "Minari." The category is rounded out by David Fincher-for Hollywood Golden Age reimagining "Mank"-and Aaron Sorkin for 1960s courthouse drama "The Trial of the Chicago 7." The DGA Awards are a strong indicator of the Oscars best director prize.

In this file photo US-Chinese director Chloe Zhao poses during a photocall to present the movie "Songs My Brothers Taught Me" in the French northwestern sea resort of Deauville.

Only one woman-Kathryn Bigelow-has won the DGA top honor, and she went on to scoop the only female best director Oscar win in history for 2009's "The Hurt Locker." Last year the major award shows including the DGAs and Oscars shut out all female-helmed films in their director categories, with the absence of Greta Gerwig for her acclaimed "Little Women" drawing a particular backlash.

The industry has come under increasing scrutiny for its lack of diversity in recent years. The DGA Tuesday also unveiled five nominees for the first-time feature director prize, including Regina King for "One Night in Miami" and Radha Blank for "The Forty-Year-Old Version." The DGAs winners will be unveiled at a private virtual event on April 10, some two weeks before the pandemic-delayed Oscars. - AFP