Chloe Zhao has made history at this Sunday’s Oscars, already called the Oscars of the pandemic, becoming the second woman to win the award for best director in almost 100 years and the first Asian director to do so. Zhao started as a favorite since the film won the best film award at the Venice and Toronto Festivals and at the Golden Globes. Not only has it won the Oscar for best director, but also for best film and best actress for star and co-producer Frances McDormand. «In my childhood, my dad and I played to memorize poems and classic texts trying to finish each other’s sentences, he taught me to believe that people are inherently good at birth. “I have always found goodness in the people I have met and I dedicate the Oscar to anyone who has the faith and courage to hold on to the goodness in themselves,” Zhao said upon receiving the award.
Despite 93 Oscar ceremonies having been held, only seven women have been nominated for the best director category, and two of those seven were this year, as Emerald Fennell was nominated alongside Zhao for their work on ‘A Young Woman’. promising’. The others were Lina Wertmuller (Pascualino Seven Beauties), Jane Campion (The Piano), Sofia Coppola (Lost in Translation) and Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird). Kathryn Bigelow was the first woman to win an Oscar in 2010 for ‘Darkest Night’. There was an opportunity to speak with Zhao minutes after winning the Oscar, in the press room that was organized virtually this year.
-The filming of this film forced the team to work differently and Frances McDormand has even changed her lifestyle. Has she changed you too?
-Definitely. Now I need less things to live, that’s for sure. If there’s one thing that’s changed me, it’s that I’ve been able to get rid of everything I don’t need.
-Yours is one of those victories that people will talk about for a long time and your film has won all the awards of the year. What would you say has been the award you have most appreciated?
-An Oscar is fulfilling a dream, but the most satisfying thing about the night is that the entire team has met again, that we are together again and meeting in person. It has been wonderful to celebrate tonight with other filmmakers because it has been a year without being able to go out. Winning tonight has been a huge surprise and I am grateful to the producers of the Oscars because I know the enormous effort they have had to make to organize the ceremony.
-You are the first Asian director to win an Oscar. How do you feel?
-It is truly fabulous to be a woman in 2021. I feel extremely lucky to do what I love for a living and if the fact that I win means that people like me, who belong to minorities, can start believing in their dreams, welcome . I am very grateful for the award.
-What does winning the Oscar mean to you in the year of confinement?
-As Frances said, I invite everyone to go to the cinema to see the movie. I think it was a daring thing to finish this film in the middle of the pandemic and release it during confinement, without a doubt, it was a herculean effort and something that we never thought we were going to do, but I think it is an important film because we are dedicating this film to all nomadic men and women.
-Do you consider yourself an inspiration for other Asian filmmakers, especially at a time when hate crimes against Asians are increasing in the United States?
-I think that for Asian filmmakers, for all filmmakers in general, the most important thing we have to do is be true to who we are and tell the stories that we feel connected to, but that doesn’t mean that there is only one type of story that we have to tell, but to connect with other people through our stories and that is why I love making films. Hopefully, many of the award-winning stories tonight help us, as Tyler Perry said, with his beautiful speech, stop the hate, the hate for anyone, Asian or not.
-We have seen Frances McDormand howling when receiving the Oscar. Why was she howling?
-French’s howl was dedicated to our sound editor, Wolf (wolf in English) who recently passed away, he was part of the ‘Nomadland’ family and we wanted to pay tribute to him.
-On this historic night, what has been your happiest moment?
-Without a doubt, when Frances won. People have no idea what Frances had to go through to film this film, not only as a producer to get the financing and dedicate herself to releasing it in the middle of the pandemic, but as an actress because she forced herself to endure the elements, showing herself vulnerable. She helped us all get the movie made and helped the nomads feel comfortable on set. She truly belongs to the land of the nomads.
-She is the second woman to win the Oscar in the history of the awards. Have you spoken or do you intend to speak with Kathryn Bigelow, the first woman to win?
-I know I’m repeating myself, but it’s true. I feel very lucky to make a living doing what I like. If my passion helps more people like me make their dreams come true, I’m flattered. I once had a group dinner with Kathryn and we were definitely talking big time about what it means to be a female director. Now that I have the Oscar I would love to talk to her more.
-You have broken a ceiling that everyone talks about, who do you dedicate your award to?
-I’ve been very lucky, that’s the truth. I dedicate this award to my parents who always encouraged me and told me that I was enough, that I was my art. I try to be true to myself and be surrounded by talented people who support me, with all of them I want to share this moment.