At long last, the Golden Globe for Best Director has gone to an Asian woman.
Celebrated Chinese filmmaker Chloe Zhao took home the historic honor during last night’s Golden Globe awards ceremony. In addition to being the first Asian woman to win the prize, she was also only the second woman in general to ever do so. (The first winner was Barbra Streisand, who won in 1984 for directing “Yentl.”)
While that’s progress for women, and women of color, it’s worth noting that last night’s show marked the 78th year that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has doled out the awards. The HFPA also came under fire this year for having no Black people as members.
Zhao earned her Golden Globe for directing “Nomadland,” a muted drama starring Frances McDormand, who is also a producer. Zhao’s work on the movie garnered award recognition while “Nomadland” made the rounds at film festivals last year.
In an emotional speech, she thanked the team behind the film, as well as “the nomads who shared their stories with us.” She then read a statement written by Bob Wells, one of those nomads who also happens to be featured in the movie.
“Compassion is the breakdown of all the barriers between us,” Zhao read. “A heart-to-heart bonding. Your pain is my pain. It’s mingled and shared between us.”
Despite the historic nature of her win, Zhao kept the rest of her message similarly general and focused on unity. She concluded her speech by stating that she’s grateful to films in general, as they create “a chance to laugh and cry together” and “a chance to learn from each other, and to have more compassion for each other.”