Nomadland's Chloé Zhao Is Second Woman to Win BAFTA Award for Directing: 'I Feel Very Grateful'

Chloé Zhao continues to make history this awards season.

The Nomadland director, 39, became the second woman ever to win the directing category at the BAFTA Awards, as well as the first Asian woman to win the prize.

Kathryn Bigelow was the first woman to win, being recognized in 2010 for The Hurt Locker, and this year's crop of nominees saw four female filmmakers among the six honorees: Shannon Murphy (Babyteeth), Jasmila Žbanić (Quo Vadis, Aida?) and Sarah Gavron (Rocks) were also nominated, as were Thomas Vinterberg (Another Round) and Lee Isaac Chung (Minari).

In her acceptance speech, Zhao happily said she made her college teacher "really proud," and thanked the film's producers for "creating such a safe and encouraging environment for me to always challenge myself and to play."

Nomadland also won best film, leading actress (Frances McDormand) and cinematography (Joshua James Richards). According to the Associated Press, Zhao said of her historic win, "If this means more people like me get to live their dreams, then I feel very grateful."

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In February, Zhao became the second woman to win best director at the Golden Globes, coming after Barbra Streisand won the category in 1984 for Yentl.

At the Academy Awards, which will air April 25, Zhao is also nominated for best director, where, for the first time ever, more than one woman has been nominated in the director's category (Emerald Fennell is also nominated for Promising Young Woman). Bigelow remains the only woman to win best director at the Oscars, also for The Hurt Locker.

Zhao, who previously made several independent films such as The Rider, received buzz for her work in Nomadland, which follows the story of Fern (McDormand), who becomes a drifter after losing her home in the 2008 recession.

Zhao has several projects in the pipeline, including her biggest film yet: the upcoming Marvel superhero movie The Eternals, starring Angelina Jolie and Salma Hayek. 

Nomadland is now playing in select theaters and available to stream on Hulu.

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