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Chloe Zhao makes Oscar history as she takes home Best Director for Nomadland

Chloe Zhao made Oscars history as she became the first Asian woman – and first woman of colour – to win the Best Director category.

Chloe, who told the story of financially stretched van dwellers in US recession-era tale Nomadland, also became only the second woman to ever win best director at the awards.

The other female winner of the award was Kathryn Bigelow, who took the prize in 2010 for war thriller The Hurt Locker.

It is the first Oscar for Chloe, 39, who featured real-life nomads alongside actress Frances McDormand to show the lives of older Americans who travel from job to job to try and scrape together a living.

Chloe Zhao makes Oscars history as first Asian woman best director

During her winner’s speech, Chloe said: “Thank you to the Academy. Thank you to my brilliant, brilliant nominees, fellow nominees.

“My entire Nomadland company. What a crazy once-in-a-lifetime journey we went on. Thank you so much. I’m so grateful to you.”

She concluded her emotional speech: “This is for anyone who has the faith and the courage to hold on to the goodness in themselves.

“And to hold on to the goodness in each other. No matter how difficult it is to do that. And this is for you, you inspire me to keep going. Thank you.”

Chloe Zhao
Chloe Zhao delivered an emotional winning speech

Chloe also competed in this year’s award against against Promising Young Woman director Emerald Fennell, marking the first time two women were nominated in the category at the same time.

She went into the Oscars ceremony as the front-runner after picking up trophies from the Directors Guild of America, the Golden Globes, BAFTA, and multiple film critics groups.

Youn Yuh-jung also made history with her best supporting actress Oscar for Minari.

Youn Yuh-Jung
Youn Yuh-Jung won the best supporting actress award

She became the first Korean and second Asian person to take home the award.

The first came back in 1958 when Japanese American actress and singer Miyoshi Umeki won for Sayonara.

Youn joked about meeting actor Brad Pitt in person as he announced her win.

She also paid tribute to the other nominees in the category and said she “doesn’t believe in competition”.

She went on to question how she could win over fellow nominee Glenn Close.

There were also huge moments in the makeup/hairstyling Oscar categories with the first black winners announced.

Viola Davis
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, starring Viola Davis, was recognised for its hair stylists and makeup artists

The makeup and hairstyling team from Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom were recognised for their efforts.

Hairstylists Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson became the first black women to win in this category, while makeup artist Sergio Lopez-Rivera is also part of the Oscar-winning team.

Mia created 100 wigs for the film, including two for main actress Viola Davis, who portrayed the character of Ma Raine.

Chloe Zhao makes Oscar history as she takes home Best Director for Nomadland

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