In stark contrast to last year's all male line-up, Chloé Zhao (Nomadland) and Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman) are among the five hopefuls battling it out for the prestigious prize.
After winning the Golden Globe for her new age western starring Frances McDormand, Zhao is now hotly tipped to become only the second woman ever to win the gong.
While Bosnian director Jasmila Zbanic and Tunisian director Kaouther Ben Hania could also break new ground in the Best International Feature category.
From silent film trailblazer Lois Weber to modern-day indie queen Kelly Reichardt however, they aren't the first women to shine on the other side of the camera -and won't be the last. Here, we round up a few of our favourite female-helmed films of recent decades.
The Piano (Jane Campion)
Kiwi Jane Campion definitely hit the right note with this 1993 period romance -becoming the first female director to win the prestigious Palme d'Or at Cannes.
Almost three decades on, the tale of a mute Scottish woman who must 'earn' back her beloved piano after being sold into marriage is widely considered a feminist classic.
Holly Hunter - who, fun fact, only got the role after Sigourney Weaver passed on it - and Anna Paquin, then aged just 11, both scooped Oscars for their powerful portrayal of displaced mother and daughter, Ada and Flora, in the windswept epic.
While Michael Nyman's swoony score is also 'key' to The Piano's enduring legacy.
Lost In Translation (Sofia Coppola)
Indie darling Sofia Coppola scooped the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay with her second directorial effort.
But it's the words the audience couldn't hear - whispered by Bill Murray into Scarlett Johansson's ear in the film's agonising final moment - that have turned the 2003 moodfest into one of the sexiest-films-with-no-sex ever.
Dream team Coppola and Murray reunited for On the Rocks last year.
Selma (Ava DuVernay)
American Ava DuVernay made history on the double when she became the first black woman nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Director and the first black female director to have a film nominated for Best Picture Oscar for 2014's Selma.
The blistering look at the infamous 1965 clash between police and civil rights protesters in Alabama stars David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King Jr.
Lady Bird (Greta Gerwig)
Famously scoring 100 pc on Rotten Tomatoes, this dazzling directorial debut confirmed screenwriter and actor Greta Gerwig's status as a Hollywood triple threat. The coming-of-age gem about a teen on a journey from attitude to gratitude earned Saoirse Ronan her third Oscar nod in 2018. But the director was criminally overlooked by the Academy when the pair joined forces again for Little Women last year.
Sleepless in Seattle (Nora Ephron)
It's been 28 years since Sam Baldwin and Annie Reed first locked eyes at the top of the Empire State Building in this sweet tale by the late queen of the rom-com. But, dammit, Howard the teddy bear gets us every single time.
Sleepless stars Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks famously reunited five years later for 'spiritual sequel', You've Got Mail, both of which were also penned by Ephron, who sadly died of pneumonia caused by cancer in 2012.
As for Jonah? The fast-talking smallie played by Ross Malinger now appropriately sells cars for a living.
Point Break (Kathryn Bigelow)
Long before her glass ceiling-shattering Oscar win for The Hurt Locker in 2010, American director Kathryn Bigelow was already making waves thanks to this 1991 thriller about a group of surfers turned bank robbers. Riding the crest alongside Keanu Reeves, it memorably transformed Patrick Swayze from a Dirty Dancing stud into bona fide action star - because nobody puts Bodhi in the corner.