Something pretty cool is happening at the Emmys: For the third time in Primetime Emmy history (and for the third time in the last four years), a main-draw* directing award has a female-majority nominee field.
In this year's Outstanding Direction For a Comedy Series category, Lena Dunham received a directing nod for Girls' "On All Fours," Gail Mancuso was nominated for Modern Family's "Arrested," and Beth McCarthy-Miller was nominated for 30 Rock's "Hogcock! / Last Lunch." It's the second Emmy directing nomination for Dunham and Mancuso, and it's the eighth (!) for McCarthy-Miller (who's also been nominated in the Variety, Music or Comedy Program category for her work on Saturday Night Live and other programs). None of these women have won a directing Emmy before, and only one woman has ever taken home the Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series award: Betty Thomas, in 1993, for Dream On.
The last time an Outstanding Directing category featured more female nominees than male was in 2011, when the Comedy Series nominees included two male directors plus Mancuso (also for Modern Family), McCarthy-Miller (also for 30 Rock), and Pamela Fryman for How I Met Your Mother. The first time a direction field featured a majority of female nominees was just a year earlier: In 2010's five-nominee Drama Series directing category, Michelle MacLaren was nominated for Breaking Bad, Lesli Linka Glatter was nominated for Mad Men, and Agnieszka Holland was nominated for Treme.