Oscars 2021: Chloe Zhao becomes only second woman ever to win Best Director

Tom Beasley
·Contributor
·2-min read

Watch: Chloé Zhao hopes Oscar win inspires other

Chloe Zhao has won the Oscar for Best Director, becoming only the second woman in history to win the award as she continues to smash awards season barriers.

The Nomadland filmmaker is the first woman of colour to win the Academy's directing prize — 11 years after Kathryn Bigelow was honoured for The Hurt Locker.

Only seven women have ever been nominated in the category, with two of those coming this year.

Read more: Nomadland and everything coming to Disney+ in April

Zhao beat out fellow nominees Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman), Lee Isaac Chung (Minari), David Fincher (Mank) and Thomas Vinterberg (Another Round).

Nomadland stars Frances McDormand as a woman who adopts a nomadic lifestyle after losing her job in the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2008.

Chloé Zhao accepts the Directing award for 'Nomadland' during the 93rd Annual Academy Awards at Union Station on April 25, 2021. (Photo by Todd Wawrychuk/A.M.P.A.S. via Getty Images)
Chloé Zhao accepts the Directing award for 'Nomadland' during the 93rd Annual Academy Awards at Union Station on April 25, 2021. (Photo by Todd Wawrychuk/A.M.P.A.S. via Getty Images)

Accepting the award at Union Station in Los Angeles, Zhao delivered a touching speech — part of which was delivered in Chinese.

She said: "I have always found goodness in the people I’ve met, everywhere I went in the world.

"This is for anyone who has the faith and the courage to hold out for the goodness in themselves and each other, no matter how hard it is to do that."

Read more: Halle Berry says lack of Oscars diversity is "heart-breaking"

Social media users noted the historic importance of Zhao's win, with The Farewell director Lulu Wang and Killing Eve star Sandra Oh among the high-profile voices praising her as a "most deserving winner".

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Nomadland was nominated for six Oscars in total, including Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Actress for McDormand.

Zhao herself was nominated for four of those awards in her multiple roles as director, producer, screenwriter and editor.

Read more: All of the Oscar winners as they're announced

The Oscars are being handed out live from multiple locations in Los Angeles and satellite sites around the world, including at the BFI in London.

Watch: Trailer for Nomadland