China-Born Director Chloe Zhao Has Historic Outing at BAFTAs

By Alistair Baker-Brian, April 12, 2021

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China-born director Chloe Zhao had a successful outing at the British Association for Film and Television Arts awards ceremony (BAFTAs), which took place on April 10 and 11. 

Her latest release, Nomadland, earned her best film and best director.

The movie previously won her best director at both the Golden Globe Awards and the Directors Guild of America Awards earlier this year. 

The movie is set in the US following the Great Recession. A woman in her 60s, who loses everything, decides to go on a journey through the American Midwest, living day-by-day in the van she drives. 

When asked by Interview magazine about why someone born in Beijing and educated in London and New York would be so fascinated by the middle of America, Zhao replied that while studying at New York University in her 20s, she would often feel lost. 

She went on to say that “historically when you feel lost, you go west.” And that was exactly what she did. 

Having previously attended boarding school in the UK at the age of 15, Zhao is now based permanently in the US. Her BAFTA speech included a hat-tip to her educational background, saying, “I think I just made my teacher at Brighton College very proud.”

Zhao is only the second woman – but the first woman of color – to win best director in 53 years of BAFTA history. And at just 39 years of age, she likely still has a long career ahead of her. 

[Cover image via @TheFilmUpdates/Twitter]

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