Director Chloe Zhao has made history at the Golden Globes, becoming the first Asian woman and just the second woman ever to win best director.
She took home the award for Nomadland, which is her third, and stars Frances McDormand as a recent widow traversing a small factory town in Nevada.
After winning the award, Zhao urged all of us to “be more compassionate to ourselves”, noting the lessons she learned from McDorman, who played her leading character.
“I sometimes feel that people with so much hate, maybe they just hate themsevles.
“I think the understanding and trying to see the world from the other person’s perspective is the only way we can survive as a species.”
Born in Beijing, Zhao has been trending on Chinese media, with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon actress Zhang Ziyi saying she looks forward to her “winning the Oscar”.
Zhao told a virtual backstage conference that: “Sometimes a first feels like a long time coming.
“I just love what I do. If his means more people like me get to live their dream and get to do what I do, I’m happy.”
During her acceptance speech, she thanked all her fellow nominees for making beautiful films, as well as her partner and the full crew on Nomadland.
She spoke about Bob Wells, a real life nomad who who appears in the movie — saying he helped her with her remarks.
“This is what he said about compassion,” she said during the speech. “Compassion is the breakdown of all the barriers between us. A heart to heart pounding. Your pain is my pain. It’s mingled and shared between us.”
“Now this is why I fell in love with making movies and telling stories because it gives us a chance to laugh and cry together and it gives us a chance to learn from each other and to have more compassion for each other.
“So thank you everyone who made it possible to do what I love.”
The South China Morning Post reports that Zhao’s stepmother, Song Dandan, who is a well know actress in China, has described her as “a legend in the family’ who will inspire countless Chinese children.
“A Chinese girl who knew little English went abroad to study at age 16. You chose a path that we expected to be difficult but had to respect,” wrote Song. “Today, you won the recognition at other people’s home court, competing on things they are best at … .”
Barbra Streisand was the first woman to receive the award, way back in 1984. She tweeted in response to the award news that, “it’s about time!”
This year, for the first time ever, the number of female director nominees in the category outnumbered male nominees with Chloé Zhao, Emerald Fennell and Regina King securing three of the five nominations for the coveted category, which came under fire last year when not a single woman director was nominated.
In the Golden Globes’ 78-year history, only five female directors have ever been nominated in the best director category, and only two have won.