Chloé Zhao has become the first woman of colour and the second woman to ever win an Oscar for Best Director. She received the mark of honour and appreciation for directing the film ‘Nomandland’. Additionally, she’s the first woman to ever be nominated for four Oscar categories in the same year: Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing, Best Picture categories, and Best Director.
Chloé Zhao’s win is a historic moment in the global film industry which will be cherished and celebrated for years to come by those who value her work as well as people who share a similar identity. Since the beginning of time women have been denied the right to or restricted from pursuing their dreams, and have had to work twice as hard as men to achieve their ambitions, regardless of their talent. On the other hand, people of colour have always struggled to be considered as equals, or have their work alongside those in the Global North. Even after being a subject of such intersectionality, Chloé Zhao was able to make a name for herself with her work being held in the highest regard.
It’s awe inspiring. Yet, her humble and grounded nature encourages her to share this victory with her proficient team and supportive parents. Her parents’ philosophy is, “Who you are is enough. And, who you are is your art.” Symbolic of how every artisan’s work represents a part of their soul. Thus, Zhao strives to stay true to herself.
She got a chance to make a living out of her passion, something she so deeply loves and resonates with. Not everyone gets the opportunity to do so, especially people of colour. Long lasting discrimation and lack of privilege can have detrimental impact on talent. More importantly, a less than promising environment can have an unfortunate effect on a person’s will to even continue dreaming. Therefore, Chloé Zhao believes that if her win stimulates others’ determination to follow a similar path, then she will mirthfully do their bidding and set the stage for them to chase their dreams.
However, it’s about time we talked about the lack of representation of People of Colour, and the need to live up to Western notions of success in the film industry.