Chloé Zhao: “It is pretty fabulous being a woman in 2021”

Chloé Zhao, winner of the Best Director for 'Nomadland,' poses during the 93rd Annual Academy Awards.
Matt Petit/A.M.P.A.S. via Getty Images

By María Estévez, MWN

Chloé Zhao has made history at the Oscars becoming the second woman to win the award for Best Director in almost 100 years and the first Asian director to do so. Zhao was a favorite to receive the statuette since “Nomadland” was named the Best Film at Venice and Toronto Festivals, as well as at the Golden Globes. The movie did not only win the Best Director nomination. It also became Best Picture and brought Frances McDormand, protagonist and co-producer, recognition as the Best Actress.

Despite 93 years of history, only seven women have been nominated for the Best Director category. Two of them this year: Emerald Fennell was nominated alongside Zhao for her work on “Promising Young Woman.” Others include Lina Wertmuller (“Seven Beauties”), Jane Campion (“The Piano”), Sofia Coppola (“Lost in Translation”) and Greta Gerwig (“Lady Bird”). Kathryn Bigelow was the first woman to win an Oscar in 2010 for “The Hurt Locker.”

Metro sat down with Zhao to learn more. 

How do you feel being the first Asian woman to win an Oscar?

It is pretty fabulous being a woman in 2021. I’m extremely lucky to do what I love for a living and if this wins an award, it means more people have to live their dreams. I am extremely grateful. Releasing this movie in the midst of the pandemic was a Herculean effort and something we never thought we were going to be doing.

Do you think your movie could become an inspiration for Asian filmmakers, especially during the rise of hate crimes against Asian Americans?

Asian filmmakers and all filmmakers have to stay true to who they are. We have to tell the stories that we feel connected with, and that doesn’t mean that there is only one type of story that we have to tell but it is a way for us to connect with other people. That is why I love filmmaking. Let’s get together and stop hate, hate for anybody.

What was your happiest moment tonight?

My happiest moment was when Frances won. Sometimes people may not know what she had to go through in this movie as a producer, as an actress and how open and vulnerable and how much she has helped me to make this movie and helped the other nomads to feel comfortable on set. She really is Nomadland. I’m so happy for her.

How does it feel to break the glass ceiling?

Very lucky, that is the truth. My parents always told me that who you are is enough and it is your art. I always try to stay true to myself and be surrounded by really great supportive talented people, so I really share this moment with them.

What changed in your life after Nomadland?

One thing definitely changed, I think I need less stuff. I can live with fewer things.

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