Chloé Zhao has made cinematic history by becoming the first woman of colour to win the coveted ‘Best Director’ gong during a busy night at the 93rd Academy Awards.
Given the stature of her achievement, Zhao also becomes just the second woman in the history of the Academy Awards to win Best Director.
“This is for anyone who has the faith and the courage to hold on to the goodness in themselves, and to hold on to the goodness in each other, no matter how difficult it is to do that,” Zhao says of her Academy Award.
“I have always found goodness in the people I met everywhere I went in the world. So this is for anyone who has the faith and the courage to hold onto the goodness and themselves, and…in each other.”
With a careful deft touch, Zhao conducted Nomadland’s Fern across the Nevada wasteland and masterfully brought together the sound and cinematography to elevate her journey.
Nomadland, which stars Francis McDormand as a modern-day nomad living out of a van owing to the economic impact of the Great Recession, also picked up the award for Best Picture. Also nominated for the directorial prize were David Fincher for Mank, Regina King for One Night in Miami, Emerald Fennell for Promising Young Woman, and Aaron Sorkin for The Trial of the Chicago 7.
Nomadland is Zhao’s third feature film following her previous critically acclaimed efforts for Songs My Brother Taught Me and The Rider. The next project in line for Zhao is Marvel’s Eternals for Disney and a science-fiction Western revamp of Dracula for Universal.