The year was 2010, and Kathryn Bigelow had become the first woman ever to win a best director Oscar.

Seven years on, and the Academy is more determined than ever to tackle diversity issues and turn a new page on what has been a pretty pale book.

But, although last year we all agreed on an #OscarsLessWhite hashtag, questions around gender issues are likely to replace the race row come January.

With Hollywood under fire for what is rapidly becoming an industry-wide scandal involving allegations of sexual assault, harassment, rape and paedophilia, the Academy should prepare for the worst.

The ceremony this year will likely be a more sombre gathering, where political speeches previously aimed at Trump may now be used to scrutinise Hollywood’s own powerful white men.

In my head, I envision stars dressed in black gowns, less selfies, less laughter – a timely funeral for an industry in decay.

But maybe that’s just my imagination.

The good news, for the industry and for the mournful Academy, is that women are expected to rule the show. And not just in the best actress category.

For 89 shameful years, the odds were rigged. Not once did more than one female director get nominated in this category.

Not even in 2003, when Patty Jenkins released Monster and Sofia Coppola was nominated for Lost In Translation.

That year, the Oscar went to Peter Jackson for the insufferable conclusion to Lord Of The Rings. The year before, it was Roman Polanski’s The Pianist. Change is due at the Dolby Theatre.

In total, only four women have been nominated for best director since 1929.

This year, so far, we have at least three great female filmmakers running for the big prize: Greta Gerwig, Dee Rees and Patty Jenkins.

Jenkins, the older and more experienced director of the three, has been around for a while.

Monster, her debut film, changed Charlize Theron’s career forever and contributed to a change in our perception of how women should be portrayed in film. This was 14 years ago.

In recent years, Jenkins has been sidetracked to TV shows including Arrested Development, Entourage and the US version of The Killing. It was good TV, but still a waste.

This year, she returned with a triumphant Wonder Woman, saving the DC Universe of its dull, over-serious superheroes.

When we were ready to give up on Superman forever, and Batman had began to look like a middle-aged man fresh out of rehab – yes, Ben Affleck – Jenkins, with former Israeli model and soldier Gal Godot in the starring role, delivered a half-decent comic-book adaptation.

I know that doesn’t sound like much of a compliment but, as far as modern superhero films go, believe me, it is.

Jenkins’ Wonder Woman not only ruled the box office and the critics, but it will also likely see acknowledgement from the Academy.

She probably won’t take the gong, but if she’s nominated it will at least add to the stats.

And then come the real contenders: Gerwig and Rees, whose films, Lady Bird and Mudbound respectively, are fantastic.

This hasn’t been a great year, mind you, with Christopher Nolan’s detestable Dunkirk and Denis Villeneuve’s over-indulgent Blade Runner 2049.

But Gerwig made a splash at Telluride – one of the few genuinely indie festivals around – and has received rave reviews for her coming-of-age tale starring Saoirse Ronan.

Lady Bird is Gerwig’s debut as a director, after many years blessing us all with her phenomenal acting – frequently under the lens of her boyfriend director Noah Baumbach.

Baumbach is himself a likely contender this year for his The Meyerowitz Stories, also known as the film which finally shut up all the Adam Sandler haters.

Meyerowitz could become the first Netflix drama ever to win an award, but it’s not alone.

Rees, whose Mudbound is also a Netflix original, has been making short films and under-the-radar gems for more than 10 years, but has finally captured critics’ attention at the Gotham Awards, winning the special jury prize.

Starring Carey Mulligan and Garrett Hedlund, Mudbound has been hailed as a true Oscar contender.

And Jenkins, Gerwig and Ress aren’t the only women who could be in the running for the golden statuette. This year, both Sofia Coppola and Bigelow have also released films, The Beguiled and Detroit.

Coppola has already been awarded best director at the Cannes Film Festival this year, and Bigelow remains the only female winner of the Oscars prize.

But that doesn’t prove anything. Knowing the Academy, there will still be shameful snubs.

Have things changed? We shall see. But in the best possible scenario, all five nominees this year will be women.

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(c) Sky News 2017: Oscars 2018: Why women should lead the race