Director / producer Chloe Zhao, winner of Best Picture for “Nomadland,” poses in the Oscars press room at Union Station in Los Angeles on Sunday, April 25, 2021.
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Chloe Zhao made history at the Academy Awards on Sunday. The director of “Nomadland” is the second woman to have won the award for best director in almost 100 years.
She is also the first woman of color to win the award.
Zhao topped the Academy Awards after receiving directing awards from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, and the Directors Guild of America.
“When I was growing up in China, my father and I played this game. We memorized classical poems and texts and tried to finish each other’s sentences,” Zhao said during her acceptance speech. She recited a line of poetry in Chinese before translating it into English: “People at birth are naturally good.”
“I’ve always found kindness in the people I met,” she said. “… This is for anyone who has the faith and courage to hold on to the goodness within themselves.”
In the 93 years of the awards show, only seven women were recognized in this category, although more than a dozen films made by a woman filmmaker were nominated for best picture during that time.
In fact, two of those seven nominees were nominated that year. Emerald Fennell was nominated along with Zhao for her work on “Promising Young Woman”.
Lina Wertmüller (“Seven Beauties”), Jane Campion (“The Piano”), Sofia Coppola (“Lost in Translation”) and Greta Gerwig (“Lady Bird”) are the only other directors who have chosen the best director forgive.
Kathryn Bigelow was the first woman to win an Oscar in 2010 for “The Hurt Locker”.