Chloe Zhao completed her awards season sweep on April 25th after taking home the Academy Award for Best Director for Nomadland. Not just that, with this win, she has become the first woman of color and second woman ever to take home the Oscar.
The Chinese filmmaker and Emerald Fennell of Promising Young Woman became the sixth and seventh female nominees in the history of the category. Kathryn Bigelow was the only other woman to win Best Director for her 2009 venture, The Hurt Locker. Chloe made a heartfelt speech after accepting her award.
The director recalled her time when she was growing up in China. She shared how she and her dad would play this game and they would memorize classic poems and text. The Oscar-winner explained they would try to finish each other’s sentences and recited one that translated into, “People at birth are inherently good.”
She further continued how she has always found goodness in the people she met. Chloe continued that this is for anyone who has the faith and courage to hold onto the goodness in themselves. The director was the favorite heading into Oscars night; despite being nominated against celebrated filmmakers like David Fincher for Mank, Lee Isaac Chung for Minari, and Thomas Vinterberg for Another Round.
Chloe and Nomadland won every major award leading up to the Oscars night. This included the awards for Best Director and Best Motion Picture-Drama at the Golden Globes; Best Director and Best Film at the BAFTAs; Outstanding Directing-Feature Film at the DGA Awards; Best Theatrical Motion Picture at the Producers Guild Awards, and Best Feature; Best Director and Best Editing at the Independent Spirit Awards.
“If this means more people like me get to live their dreams, then I feel very grateful.”
Hence, the director has given numerous heartfelt speeches throughout the many accolades the movie receives. Her next project is Marvel’s Phase 4 epic, The Eternals, which makes it even more exciting for us to look forward to it. She always thanked the leading lady, Frances McDormand, and the cast of real-life adventurers who appeared in the movie.
During her acceptance speech at the Golden Globes, the director said, “I especially want to thank the nomads who shared their stories with us. I asked one of them, Bob Wells, to help me out here, and this is what he said about compassion: ‘Compassion is the breakdown of all the barriers between us. A heart-to-heart bonding. Your pain is my pain. It’s mingled and shared between us.’ This is why I fell in love with making movies and telling stories.”
Meanwhile, during her DGA Awards speech, Chloe took a moment to pay tribute to each of her other nominees. She praised their work and called out the specifics of what she appreciated in each and every movie. At the BAFTAs, the director also acknowledged the importance of her win for other Asian women and minority groups. “If this means more people like me get to live their dreams, then I feel very grateful,” she shared.