The Academy Awards 2021 (Oscars) was hosted last Sunday (25) in Los Angeles to honour the best movies released in 2020 during the worldwide pandemic Covid-19. In 93 years of history, Chloé Zhao is the first woman of colour to win the award for Best Directing for the picture Nomadland. Also, is the second woman to win in this category alongside Kathryn Bigelow in 2009 for The Hurt Locker.
Born in Beijing, her father was an executive in a steel company and her mother was a hospital worker. Her love for films started when Zhao watched Happy Together by Wong Kar-Wai for the first time. After her parent‘s divorced, her father married a comic actress Song Dandan, who introduced Zhao to plenty of tv shows when she was a teenager.
When was 15, Zhao moved to the UK for a private boarding school. Later moved to Los Angeles to finish high school. She started the bachelors in Politics following film production in New York University Tisch School of the Arts.
Even though Nomadland portraits the loneliness and grief of the protagonist among the strong criticism regarding capitalism against the nomads in America in her most mature work to date, the Chinese filmmaker did a similar approach in her two previous movies that are hidden gems of the American independent cinema.
Songs My Brother Taught Me (2015)
In her debut, Zhao tells the tale of the indigenous Jashhaun Winters and John Winters, siblings living in the state of South Dakota that lost their father in an accident. Concerned that he can’t have a good life in his hometown and close to finish High school, John decided to move to Los Angeles with his girlfriend. However, meaning leave his sister behind. Similar to Nomadland, this movie presents non-actors and documentary style to portrait the family issues such as alcoholism and criminality. In addition, reference to Terrence Malick’s filmography, which is common to see neorealism as a form of narrative.
The Rider (2017)
Based on the real history of Brady Jandreau, Brady plays himself in this feature that portraits his life in South Dakota as a bronc rider recovering from surgery following a head injury when his horse fell on him. In her second picture, Zhao presents an ambitious narrative that makes the audience feel as if the cameras were just turn on and leave there for a while. This means that the truth of the protagonist alongside the characters is so real for a feature. The blue palette from the cinematography allows the feeling of sadness and grief in the air.
Chloe Zhao next feature will be released in the end of the year and it is called Eternals, the next franchise for the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).