Chinese director Chloe Zhao made history at the 93rd Academy Awards on Sunday Apr. 25, becoming the first woman of color to win the Oscar for Best Director.
The 39-year-old is only the second woman to take home the Best Director trophy after Kathryn Bigelow for “The Hurt Locker” in 2010. Zhao’s “Nomadland”,” which follows a woman who travels around America as a modern-day drifter following the 2008 recession, also won Best Picture.
“I’ve been thinking a lot lately of how I keep going when things get hard,” Zhao said in her acceptance speech, adding the Chinese phrase “People at birth are entirely good” has stuck with her.
“This is for anyone who has the faith and courage to hold on to the goodness in themselves and to hold onto the goodness in each other,” she said.
Korean actress Yuh-Jung Youn also made history as the first Korean person to win an acting Oscar, receiving the Best Supporting Actress for her role as a grandmother in “Minari.”
She is the second ever Asian woman to win an acting prize at the Oscars; Miyoshi Umeki, a Japanese-born American actress who won best supporting actress in 1958 for “Sayonara.”
“As you know, I’m from Korea. Actually, my name is Yuh-Jung Youn. Most European people call me Yuh Youn and some of them call me Yuh-Jung. But tonight, you are all forgiven,” Youn said.
“Nomadland” actress Frances McDormand won her third Best Actress trophy, while Anthony Hopkins received Best Actor for “The Father”, beating out the late Chadwick Boseman for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”.
Best Supporting Actor went to Daniel Kaluuya for “Judas and the Black Messiah”.
This was the first time people of color were nominated in all four acting categories.