Chloe Zhao becomes the second woman to win Best Director at the Oscars

And she does it in sneakers.
April 25, 2021 9:44 p.m. EST
Disney/ABC Disney/ABC

Chloé Zhao made history on Sunday night at the 93rd Academy Awards (stream the full show now on CTV) when she became the second woman to ever take home a trophy for Best Director (joining Kathryn Bigelow of The Hurt Locker), and the first woman of colour to ever do so. And she did it all in a Hermès gown and sneakers.

The Nomadland director was the frontrunner heading into the show, having taken home the directing trophy at the Golden Globes, the BAFTA Awards and the Critics Choice Awards, not to mention a slew of smaller awards given out by film critic circles around the globe. In other words, there were a lot of people expecting her to win on Sunday night.

But that didn’t make her victory any less sweet for the fans who tuned in to see her—and her awesome footwear.

Ever the professional, Zhao didn’t refer to her sneakers on the podium, but she was all class as she thanked her fellow nominees and her Nomadland crew. (Nomadland, for those who need a refresher, stars Frances McDormand as a woman in her 60s who embarks on a journey across the American West after losing everything in the Great Recession.)

“What a crazy, once-in-a-lifetime journey we went on together,” Zhao said to her team. “Thank you so much, I’m so grateful to you.”

The director then recalled how when she was a girl she and her father used to play a game where they would memorize stories and poems and quiz each other on them. Zhao explained how one particular story and line stuck with her since then—it roughly translates into, “People at birth are inherently good.” According to Zhao, it felt like the perfect line to quote at a time like this.

“I have always found goodness in the people I met everywhere I went in the world,” she said, giving everyone at home a heck of a lot of hope and love. “So this is for anyone who has the faith and the courage to hold onto the goodness and themselves, and... in each other.” 

Take note, future Oscars winners, because that’s how you read the room and pull off one heck of an acceptance speech.

Watch the full 93rd Academy Awards on and the CTV app. 


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