Chloe Zhao was named Best Director at the 2021 Golden Globe awards for Nomadland, becoming the first woman of color to win in the category. She’s the second woman ever to earn the trophy, following Barbra Streisand’s victory for Yentl in 1983. She was also the first Asian woman to be nominated for the award.
Nomadland, which stars Frances McDormand, also took home the award for Best Motion Picture – Drama, marking the first film directed by a woman to win in the category. Zhao is also the first Asian woman producer to win the award, Variety previously pointed out.
Zhao—who also helmed 2017’s The Rider and 2015’s Songs My Brother Taught Me—was nominated for the director prize along with One Night in Miami‘s Regina King and Promising Young Woman‘s Emerald Fennell. Together, the three filmmakers also made history as the first women directors nominated since Ava Duvernay in 2014. David Fincher (Mank) and Aaron Sorkin (The Trial of the Chicago 7) were also in the running this year.
While accepting her directing award, Zhao thanked her family and her team, and gave a special shoutout to “the nomads who shared their stories with us.” To make her award-winning film, which follows a woman living as a nomad in the American West, Zhao spoke to and cast real people living on the road.
“Now, this is why I fell in love with making movies, and telling stories, because it gave us a chance to laugh and cry together, and it gave us a chance to learn from each other and have more compassion for each other,” she said in her speech. “So thank you everyone who made it possible for me to do one I love.”
Up next, Zhao is directing the upcoming Marvel film, The Eternals, due in November 2021. “Eternals is a very big, sweeping, multimillennial-spanning story. And she just got it,” Marvel Studios exec Kevin Feige told Rolling Stone of Zhao’s forthcoming work. Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Kumail Nanjiani, Kit Harington, Richard Madden, Brian Tyree Henry, Gemma Chan, and more are set to star.
Even before her two Golden Globe victories, Zhao became the most-awarded person in a single award season in the modern era, Variety reports. Prior to tonight, she already had earned 34 wins awards for directing, 13 for screenplay, and nine for editing.