Ava DuVernay
Gilbert Flores/Variety/REX/Shutterstock
United States

DuVernay Agency, ARRAY


Director / Producer / Writer

Ava DuVernay is the first African-American woman director to have a film (“Selma”) nominated for an Oscar for best picture and a Golden Globe for best director. The 2014 film about Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic 1965 march and the civil rights movement helped ignite the ongoing controversy about the lack of diversity in the Academy in particular and in Hollywood in general. And while “Selma,” which was co-produced by Plan B and Oprah Winfrey, won an Oscar for best original song, the Academy’s failure to nominate either DuVernay for best director or King portrayer David Oyelowo for best actor was widely seen as a snub.

The L.A. native, who started her career in journalism and then public relations (running her own company), made her film directorial debut with the 2008 doc “This Is the Life,” followed by her first narrative feature, the 2011 micro-budgeted “I Will Follow,” which made a splash on the festival circuit. Her second feature, 2012’s “Middle of Nowhere,” did even better, winning her the best director award at Sundance and the Independent Spirit John Cassavetes Award.

She recently shot and wrote the critically acclaimed Netflix prison doc “13th” and co-created drama series “Queen Sugar” with Winfrey, airing on OWN, and her film “A Wrinkle in Time” will be released in 2018.


  • 13TH


  • University of California–Los Angeles (CA, USA)

Variety Honors

  • 10 Directors to Watch
  • Variety Power of Women


News from Variety

Ava DuVernay and 'Queen Sugar' Cast Discuss Social Justice on TV, New Episodes

Ava DuVernay and 'Queen Sugar' Cast Discuss Social Justice on TV, New Episodes

Fresh off multiple Emmy wins for her gritty and moving documentary “13th,” Ava DuVernay and the cast of “Queen Sugar” appeared at PaleyFest Fall TV Previews to give fans an early look at a new episode and discuss the show’s continuing efforts to tell wide-ranging stories about issues such as black and bi-racial identity, black masculinity, police harassment, and social justice.Cast members gathered on the Paley Center stage to talk about their favorite moments and highlights from the series, now...


Deep Dive

Want more information on Ava DuVernay?

Variety's premium research & data service, Variety Insight, provides a wealth of information around everyone working in entertainment. Access contact information, development slates, ratings, box office, credits and more from the industry's leading source for entertainment data.