Chloé Zhao wins Best Director for Nomadland at the 2021 Oscars and makes history as the first woman of color to win in the category.
The Oscars in 2021 looked a bit different
Last night at the 93rd Academy Awards ceremony the best films of the past year were honored. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the event was held at various locations with Union Station being used as the show’s main location. At each location, attendees rotated in and out of the ceremony to adhere to pandemic social distancing guidelines and were only permitted to be maskless while on camera.
The 2021 Oscars ceremony was notably different from years past with little-to-no skits and banter between presenters and all live performances pre-recorded. But perhaps a more subdued year is fitting to reflect the past year.
Another big, and positive change to this year’s awards ceremony was the increase in diversity and representation among award nominees. For years the Academy has been criticized for their lack of diversity and inclusion, but this year we finally saw some historic firsts.
Chloé Zhao’s historic win
Chinese filmmaker, Chloé Zhao became the first ever woman of color to win Best Director, and only the second woman to win in the category in nearly 100 years of the award’s history. Zhao won with her third feature film, Nomadland. The film stars Frances McDormand as a woman in her sixties who, after losing everything in the Great Recession, embarks on a journey through the American West, living as a van-dwelling modern-day nomad.
Zhao then recited a line of poetry in Chinese. “People at birth are inherently good,” she translated. “Those six letters had such a huge impact on me when I was a kid. I still truly believe them today. Even though it seems like that the opposite is true, I have always found goodness in the people I met everywhere in the world.”
She went on to dedicate her award to “anyone who has the faith and courage to hold onto the goodness in themselves and to hold on in the goodness in each other no matter how difficult it is to do that. You inspire me to keep going.”