Chloé Zhao Became The First Woman Of Colour To Win Best Director In The Oscars’ 93-Year History

While there have been some steps towards something vaguely resembling progress in recent Oscars history, one glaring category that has almost entirely been dominated by men is the Best Director award. At today’s 93rd Academy Awards, Nomadland director Chloé Zhao became just the second woman, and first woman-of-colour, to take out the award.

Zhao was the almost unbackable favourite to take home the award, and beat out a stacked category of contemporaries, which included Emerald Fennell for Promising Young WomanLee Isaac Chung for MinariThomas Vinterberg for Another Round, and David Fincher for MANK!.

In the 93-year history of the award, Best Director has only ever been won by a non-male once, with Kathryn Bigelow breaking through in 2009 for The Hurt Locker.

Zhao’s win stands as a historic landmark not just for women in Hollywood, but for women of colour specifically.

In accepting the award, Chloé Zhao preached a message of hope and acceptance amongst all people, stating “I have always found goodness in the people I met everywhere 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… in each other.”

Nomadland is up for a slew of other awards at the still on-going Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actress for Frances McDormand, Best Cinematography, and Best Film Editing.

Zhao had also been nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay for her work on Nomadland, however in that category she lost out to Christopher Hampton and Florian Zeller for The Father.

MANK!, at the time of writing, has received awards in none of its ten categories; the most of any film at tonight’s ceremony.