As stars and media outlets clamber to shine a spotlight on the gender inequality so rampant in Hollywood, it's important to note that the under-representation of female directors on big budget films has little to do with their quality or quantity. On the contrary, these 28 films prove that women more than hold their own when handed the reins of a production.
For example, the 2009 Iraq War film, "The Hurt Locker," directed by Kathryn Bigelow, won six Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Bigelow also became the first female Best Director-winner in Oscar history.
With her 2017 coming-of-age drama "Lady Bird," Greta Gerwig became only the fifth woman ever nominated for an Academy Award for Best Director. She also earned a nod for Best Original Screenplay. Saoirse Ronan, seen here, and Laurie Metcalfe were both nominated in acting categories.
The 2001 animated family comedy, "Shrek," directed by Vicky Jenson, won an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. And it wasn't just a hit with the critics. "Shrek" grossed $376 million in the U.S. alone, fueling three more installments of the lovable ogre franchise.
This sleeper horror hit of 2014 was written and directed by Jennifer Kent, proving that you don't have to be male to be a master of suspense.
This 2014 historical drama about the 1965 voting rights marches from Selma, Alabama to Montgomery, was directed by Ava DuVernay. "Selma" was nominated for Best Picture at the 87th Academy Awards, and won the Oscar for Best Song. As of November 2015, it has a Metacritic score of 89 out of 100 (universal acclaim).
Director Patty Jenkins' 2017 "Wonder Woman" reboot, starring Gal Gadot, was not only the top-grossing blockbuster of the summer, it made many critics' lists as one of the best movies of the year.
This 2003 black comedy thriller, "American Psycho," about the dual life of a cutthroat (literally) Wall Street executive, was directed by Mary Harron. It has a score of 8.8 out of 10 among users on Metacritic, proving that the film truly is, as Stephen Holden of The New York Times described it, "a lean and mean horror comedy classic."
"Boys Don't Cry"
"Boys Don't Cry," the acclaimed 1999 drama about the real-life rape and murder of a trans man in Nebraska, was directed by Kimberly Peirce. The film has a Metacritic score of 86 out of 100, with Roger Ebert calling it, "One of the best films of the year." What's more, Hillary Swank won the Oscar for Best Actress for her performance.
"Suffragette," the 2015 British historical drama about the U.K.'s suffrage movement, was directed by Sarah Gavron. In addition to the impressive performance of the woman in its director's chair, the film features a number of commanding performances by Hollywood actresses, including Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter, and Meryl Streep.
"Big," Tom Hanks' 1988 breakout film about a young boy trapped in the body of a grown man, was directed by Penny Marshall. It grossed a whopping $222 million in the U.S. alone.
"An Education," the emotional 2009 coming-of-age drama about a bright school girl who is seduced by a charming older man, was directed by Lone Scherfig. It was nominated for Best Picture at the 2010 Academy Awards.
The 1994 American drama, "Little Women," based on the classic Louisa May Alcott novel, was directed by Gillian Armstrong with heart and vision. Perhaps that's why the film has a Metacritic score of 87 out of 100 (universal acclaim).
"Little Miss Sunshine"
The 2006 American family dramedy, "Little Miss Sunshine," was co-directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris. It was a nuanced glimpse into the intertwined tragedy and comedy of everyday life, and critics and viewers alike recognized that.
"Tucked in between all the hurt and the jokes, the character development and the across-the-board terrific performances," wrote Manohla Dargis in The New York Times, "is a surprisingly sharp look at contemporary America."
"Zero Dark Thirty"
"Zero Dark Thirty," the 2012 American action thriller about the assassination of Osama bin Laden, was produced and directed by Kathryn Bigelow. As of November 2015, it has an exceptional Metacritic score of 95 out of 100, based on the reviews of 46 critics.
This 2003 biographical dramedy about Harvey Pekar, the man who created the "American Splendor" comic book series, was co-directed by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini. As of November 2015, it has a Metacritic score of 90 out of 100 (universal acclaim).
"The Kids Are All Right"
This 2010 American dramedy about what happens when the children of a lesbian couple meet their biological father, was directed and co-written by Lisa Cholodenko. The film was nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars, and won Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy at the 2011 Golden Globes.
"Desperately Seeking Susan"
Susan Seidelman directed this charming screwball comedy of mistaken identity in which a young housewife (Rosanna Arquette) and a bohemian (Madonna) cross paths thanks to a classified ad.
"Lost in Translation"
"Lost in Translation," the 2003 dramedy about an unlikely friendship between two Americans - a middle-aged man and a younger woman - in Tokyo, was written, produced and directed by Sofia Coppola, fresh off her success with "The Virgin Suicides."
The film was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, and earned Coppola the Oscar for Best Screenplay.
The 1992 comedy "Wayne's World," directed by Penelope Spheeris, is a fan favorite and has grossed upwards of $233 million in the U.S. alone. It also does much to combat the deep-seated cultural belief that women are somehow less funny than men.
Italian director Lina Wertmuller became the first woman ever nominated for a Best Director Oscar for her haunting 1975 drama about a lothario (Giancarlo Giannini), who is forced to endure degradations while imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp.
"Love & Basketball"
"Love & Basketball," the 2000 romantic drama about a pair of college basketball players' love for their sport and each other, was directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood. As of November 2015, it has a score of 9 out of 10 among users on Metacritic.
"Winter's Bone," the powerful 2010 indie thriller about a teenage girl in search of her father, was directed by Debra Granik. It was nominated for Best Picture at the 2011 Academy Awards, and launched Best Actress Oscar nominee Jennifer Lawrence on her stratospheric career.
The 2003 crime drama, "Monster," about serial killer Aileen Wuornos, was directed by Patty Jenkins. It earned Charlize Theron both the Oscar and the Golden Globe for Best Actress.
The acclaimed 1993 drama, "The Piano," written, produced and directed by Jane Campion, earned Oscars for Best Actress (Holly Hunter) and Best Supporting Actress (Anna Paquin).
"Sleepless in Seattle"
The classic romantic comedy, "Sleepless in Seattle," was co-written and directed by rom-com legend Nora Ephron. It grossed upwards of $243 million in the U.S. alone.
By the time Ephron succumbed to her battle with leukemia in 2012, she had directed eight hugely successful films, including "You've Got Mail," and "Julie & Julia." She was also the screenwriter behind the Billy Crystal-Meg Ryan classic, "When Harry Met Sally..."
The 2001 film, "Monsoon Wedding," was directed by Mira Nair. It was produced by Nair and Caroline Baron. And it was written by Sabrina Dhawan. As such, the Golden Globe-nominated film had a formidable all-female team at the helm of its production.
The 2010 dark comedy, "Please Give," starring Catherine Keener and Oliver Platt, was written and directed by Nicole Holofcener. It offers a glimpse into the complicated realities of work, marriage and everyday life in 21st century America. It's the fourth film Holofcener has made with actress Catherine Keener.
"Sita Sings The Blues"
The 2008 animated film, "Sita Sings the Blues," was written, directed, produced and animated by American cartoonist Nina Paley. The film is narrated by three shadow puppets, who simultaneously comment on a tragic plotline taking place in the past and a comedic one taking place in the present.
"35 Shots Of Rum"
Filmmaker Claire Denis could easily have several movies on this list, but among them, the French art house film, "35 Shots of Rum," is the standout. Written and directed by Denis, the film has a Metacritic score of 92 out of 100 (universal acclaim), and a Rotten Tomatoes score of 97 percent.