Chloé Zhao, after directing three feature-length films, has become the second woman to ever win the Oscar for Best Director. She won the award for directing her film Nomadland, which also was awarded Best Picture. She’s also the first Asian woman and first woman of color to accept the top directing prize at the Academy Awards.
“This is for anyone who has the faith and the courage to hold onto the goodness in themselves and to hold onto the goodness in each other, no matter how difficult it is to do that,” said Zhao as she held up her Oscar. “This is for you, you inspire me to keep going.”
She joins the unfortunately small list of women to have been nominated for best director, which consists of Katheryn Bigelow, Lina , Jane Campion, Sofia Coppola, Greta Gerwig and Emerald Fennell, who was nominated alongside Zhao this year for Promising Young Woman. Zhao joins Bigelow as one of the two women to win the award, and it was revealed that after the awards show, the two had a small dinner together.
In the category, Zhao beat out Fennell, Lee Isaac Chung for Minari, David Fincher for Mank and Thomas Vinterberg for Another Round. Nomadland earned the top prizes at almost every major awards show this year, including at the DGA Awards, the Golden Globes and the Film Independent Spirit Awards.