Chloe Zhao made history at the 93rd annual Academy Awards on Sunday.
She became the first woman of colour and first woman of Asian descent to win an Oscar’s Best Director award.
The “Nomadland” director is also only the second woman to win the award. The first was Kathryn Bigelow, who won for “Hurt Locker.”
In her acceptance speech, she said: “This is for anyone who has the faith and the courage to hold out to the goodness in themselves and to hold out to the goodness in each other, no matter how difficult it is to do that,”. “You inspire me to keep going.”
In the 93-year run of the awards, only seven women have been recognized in the category, even though more than a dozen films directed by a female filmmaker have been nominated for best picture during that time.
In fact, two of those seven women nominated were nominated this year. Emerald Fennell was nominated alongside Zhao for her work on “Promising Young Woman.”
Zhao grew up in Beijing and attended a boarding school in London before moving to Los Angeles to finish high school. She got her bachelor’s degree in political science, then studied film at NYU, where one of her teachers was director Spike Lee. At NYU, Zhao began creating her cinematic style of blending fiction and documentary.