“Nomadland” director Chloé Zhao has won multiple best director awards this season — the Golden Globe, Independent Spirit Award, Critic’s Choice Award and BAFTA award — and on Sunday night, she topped off that list with the Academy Award. With her win, Zhao became the second female director to ever win the Oscar, following Kathryn Bigelow’s 2009 win for “The Hurt Locker.”
Zhao was nominated for the award alongside Emerald Fennell — the first time two women were nominated in the directing category the same year. Fennell won the first category of the night, best original screenplay, for her film “Promising Young Woman.”
Director Bong Joon-ho, who won the directing award last year for “Parasite,” presented the award from Dolby Theater in Korea.
“I’ve been thinking a lot lately of how I keep going when things get hard, and I think it goes back to something I learned when I was a kid. When I was growing up in China, my dad and I used to play this game; we’d memorize classic Chinese poems and texts, and we’d recite it together and try to finish each other’s sentences. There’s one I remember dearly, it’s called the Three Character Classic,” said Zhao while accepting the award. “‘People at birth are inherently good.’ Those six letters had such a great impact on me when I was a kid, and I still truly believe them today. Even though sometimes it might seem like the opposite is true, I’ve always found goodness in the people I met anywhere I went in the world. So 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.”
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After opting for casual looks during the mostly virtual awards season, Zhao turned to luxury fashion house Hermès for her Oscar look. Zhao wore a cream-colored long-sleeved, full-length knit gown for the ceremony, which she paired with white sneakers.
“Nomadland” was nominated for six Oscars on Sunday night, including best picture, best actress for lead Frances McDormand, best adapted screenplay, best cinematography and best film editing. The film, based on a 2017 nonfiction book by Jessica Bruder, premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2020 where it won the Golden Lion, the prestigious festival’s top prize.
Zhao’s next directorial credit is “Eternals,” a Marvel film starring Angelina Jolie and Salma Hayek slated for release later in 2021.
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