Nomadland Filmmaker Chloé Zhao made history at the 74th British Academy Film Awards, becoming the second woman to win Best Directing. Follow Kathryn Bigelow, who became the only female winner in the category for The wounded locker in 2010.
Zhao is also the first Asian woman to take home the award and the third Asian person to win Best Directing, after Ang Lee, who won twice for Secret in the mountain Y Hidden Dragon Crouching Tiger, and Akira Kurosawa, who first won in 1981 for Kagemusha.
In his acceptance speech, Zhao thanked “the nomadic community who so generously welcomed us into their lives.” “The way we treat our elders says a lot about who we are as a society, and we must do better,” he added.
The director also recognized the importance of her victory for other Asian women. “If this means that more people like me can live their dreams, then I am very grateful,” she shared.
Zhao’s victory ends an 11-year drought among winners. Their victory comes as the BAFTA awards also recognized the most women in the category, with Zhao nominated with Jasmila Žbanić (Quo Vadis, Aida?), Sarah Gavron (Rocks) and Shannon Murphy (Baby teeth).
Total, Nomadland was nominated for seven BAFTA awards, most of the year along with Rocks. The film about a woman who leaves her hometown of Empire, Nevada, to live a “homeless” existence and travel the United States earned Frances McDormand a Best Actress nomination, Zhao another Best Adapted Screenplay nomination, as well as for Cinematography, Editing, Sound and Best Film.
The 74th British Academy Film Awards, honoring the best domestic and foreign films of the past year, were held at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Check the list of winners here.