Chloe Zhao Is The First Asian Woman To Win Best Director Golden Globe

Chloe Zhao made history at the Golden Globes on Sunday night, becoming the first woman of Asian descent to win the Best Director award for “Nomadland.” The movie also scooped up the Best Motion Picture, Drama award.

During the virtual ceremony, Zhao, who also wrote and edited the film, thanked fellow nominees for making “beautiful, beautiful movies” before giving shoutouts to her “Nomadland” team and quoting Bob Wells, one of the real-life nomads who appeared in the movie.

“Compassion is the breakdown of barriers between us. A heart-to-heart bonding. Your pain is my pain is mingled and shared between us,” Zhao, who previously directed 2015’s “Songs My Brothers Taught Me” and 2017’s “The Rider,” said. “This is why I fell in love with making movies and telling stories, ’cause they give us a chance to laugh and cry together and they give us a chance to learn from each other and to have more compassion for each other. So thank you, everyone who made it possible for me to do what I love.”

Here’s a tweet from the Golden Globes, which includes a video of the short speech she gave following “Nomadland”‘s best picture win:

Zhao is also the second woman to ever win the award, after Barbra Streisand picked it up for “Yentl,” way back in 1984. Other female nominees in the category this year were Emerald Fennell (“Promising Young Woman”) and Regina King (“One Night in Miami”). But apart from that, only five other women have ever been nominated for Best Director at the Globes: Ava DuVernay, Jane Campion, Sofia Coppola, Kathryn Bigelow and Streisand.

“Nomadland” is based on the nonfiction book of the same name by journalist Jessica Bruder about the phenomenon of older Americans who adopted transient lifestyles traveling around the U.S. in search of seasonal work after the 2008 recession. Frances McDormand plays Fern, who travels the American West in her mobile home after the economic collapse of her hometown and the death of her husband. She may be an A-list name, but the bulk of the cast was made up of non-professional actors, many of whom were real-life nomads and played versions of themselves.

Here, Nomadland’s Twitter account congratulates Zhao on the win:

Zhao is currently directing Marvel’s “Eternals,” starring Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Gemma Chan and Kumail Nanjiani. Her next project is the sci-fi Western spin on “Dracula” for Universal Pictures.