10 Things You Didn't Know About Chloe Zhao - The First Woman Of Colour Who Won The Oscar For Best Director

Chloe Zhao won Oscar for directing Nomadland. She is the first woman of colour to win the award and the second woman to win. 

Zhao was the first woman to get four Oscar nominations in a single year, including Best Film Editing, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Director and Best Pictures categories.

Chloe Zhao is making history in 2021, including winning a BAFTA for directing. She's the second woman ever to win and the first Asian woman to win the award. She also won a Gloden Globe for best director, 37-years after any woman (Barbra Streisand) won in 1984. 

It’s time the world learns everything they can about her. 

1. Zhao was born in Beijing, China

Chloe Zhao Ting (赵婷) was born in Beijing, China, on March 31, 1982. Her father, Zhao Yuji, was a top executive at one of the country's largest steel companies, Shougang Group, while her mother was a hospital worker. 

2. Zhao was rebellious when she was young

Zhao calls herself lazy during her teenage life. She did not do well in school. Hence, her parents sent her to a boarding school, Brighton College, in the UK when she was only 15, even though she didn't know a single English word.

3. Zhao moved to America to finish high school and her degree

Zhao moved to Los Angeles to finish high school. Upon graduation, she moved to Massachusetts to study political science at Mount Holyoke. Then, she went to New York, NYU Tisch School of the Arts, to study film. 

4. She is a huge fan of her stepmother

Her parents ended their marriage, and her father remarried. He remarried Song Dandan, a comic actress whom Zhao had ground up watching when she was young. She was a huge fan of Song since she was a child.

5. She won awards even during her college days

During her studies, she made her first-ever film, the short film Daughters, which is awarded the Best Student Live Action Short at the 2010 Palm Springs International ShortFest and the Special Jury Prize in the 2020 Cinequest Film Festival.


6. Her thesis Film also received a nomination

She shot her thesis and debut feature film, Song My Brother Taught Me (2015), a Native American drama in collaboration with fellow film student Joshua Hames Richard. The movie was critically praised and even received a nomination for the Independent Spirit Awards for the Best First Feature and nominated in the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. It also used as a premiere at the Sundance Film Festival.  


7. She still watching Wong Kar-Wai film before starting work on her projects

She loves manga, Michael Jackson and the movies of Wong Kar-Wai. She especially loves the 1997's unmoored Happy Together, in which Leslie Cheung and Tony Leung play lovers stranded in Buenos Aires. “It’s like a ceremony,” she says in Venture


8. She met her love in college

She met her love, Joshua James Richard, at NYU. He was a student from England. She was gnarly and extreme — my idea of the collaborator I hoped to find at a film school,” Richards said. She was a do-er, not a talker, Richard added lovingly. Joshua is responsible for the sweeping cinematography for the 2020 drama. 

Director/Writer Chloé Zhao, Director of Photography Joshua Richardson and Frances McDormand on the set of “Nomadland.

Director/Writer Chloé Zhao, Director of Photography Joshua Richardson and Frances McDormand on the set of “Nomadland." Image source via Fox Searchlight Pictures

9. The couple lives in California now

The couple now settled down in the city of Ojai, just outside LA, with their two dogs. Chloe Zhao prefers her home compared to any other location, and she is the happiest at home. 

10. Her next big projects

Her next big project is Eternal. She has been a fan of mangas since young and also a fan of the MCU since the last decade. She has also been vocal about wanting to create a Marvel movie. The movie is set to release in November. Eternal is set to be her biggest one with star-studded casts like Angelina Jolie, Kumail Nanijiani, Kit Harrington, Gemma Chan and many more.

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Watch the trailer of Nomadland here.



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