We're really excited for the bevy of inspiring, fabulously dressed women to storm the Oscars this Sunday.
One woman we're looking out for in particular? Selma director and all-around impressive person Ava DuVernay.
While her moving Martin Luther King, Jr. biopic nabbed nominations for Best Picture and Best Original Song, we're disappointed DuVernay herself didn't garner a nomination for Best Director. (Come on, Academy!) Here, seven must-know facts about this woman to watch:
1. After double-majoring in English and African American studies at UCLA, DuVernay started her career as a movie publicist for 20th Century Fox.
2. At age 27, she went on to found her own award-winning movie marketing firm, specializing in helping films from directors like Clint Eastwood and Steven Spielberg draw diverse audiences.
3. In 2008, she made her directorial debut with I Will Follow, a documentary chronicling the loss of her aunt to cancer. To fund it, she spent the $50,000 she’d saved for a down payment on a house--and proceeded to shoot the whole thing in 15 days.
4. She founded the African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement (AFFRM) in 2011 with a goal of distributing diverse independent films.
5. The 2012 film Middle of Nowhere, which DuVernay directed and wrote, starring actor David Oyelowo, won her the Best Director award at Sundance.
6. For Selma, she became the first African American woman to be nominated for Best Director at the Golden Globes. And she is also the first African American female director whose film was nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards.
7. Up next: DuVernay has numerous exciting projects in the works, including a show on the Oprah network based on the novel Dear Sugar (starring Oprah!) and a project (also with Oyelowo) set in Hurricane Katrina-ravaged New Orleans.