‘Nomadland’ Director Chloé Zhao Has Already Made Golden Globes History

Alexandra Whittaker
·3-min read
Photo credit: Amanda Edwards - Getty Images
Photo credit: Amanda Edwards - Getty Images

From Cosmopolitan

Despite controversial snubs, this year’s Golden Globes also presented a refreshing series of firsts, in part thanks to Nomadland director Chloé Zhao. Zhao is up for Best Director at the 2021 Globes, becoming the first Asian woman to net a nomination in the category.

Between this achievement, Barack Obama’s stamp of approval, and her huge Marvel project starring Angelina Jolie, 2021 is shaping up to be a great year for Zhao. Read on for more intel on what she’s accomplished and where you can catch her work next.

Photo credit: Amanda Edwards - Getty Images
Photo credit: Amanda Edwards - Getty Images

First and foremost, you should know about Zhao’s films.

Chloé Zhao films are famous for capturing the American West in an almost documentary-like style. Of her entire catalog, Rotten Tomatoes doesn’t rank a single Zhao movie lower than 91 percent, which is a feat in and of itself.

Before Nomadland became a staple of the 2020 to 2021 awards season, Zhao was best known for directing Songs My Brothers Taught Me, Daughters, and the 2017 western The Rider, which won Best Feature at the Gotham Independent Film Awards and made Barack Obama’s list of favorite films in 2018.

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Tell me more about Zhao’s Nomadland.

Nomadland is the most lauded film of Zhao’s career thus far. Zhao based her film off of journalist Jessica Bruder’s 2017 nonfiction book Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century and cast Oscar winner Frances McDormand as Fern, a widow who lives in small-town Nevada and grapples with the town’s gypsum plant closing, which shutters everything.

“We all go through our own personal apocalypse at some point,” Zhao told Rolling Stone while talking about Nomadland’s characters. “We’re forced to fight and sometimes to redefine ourselves, because everything that defined who we are is gone.…The ability for perseverance, to find a new life and sense of self—that, to me, is the human spirit.”

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Has Zhao ever won a Golden Globe before?

She has not! The 2021 Golden Globes marks her first-ever nominations, for both Best Director and Best Screenplay. Zhao makes history as the first-ever woman of Asian descent to garner a Best Director nomination at the Golden Globes.

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What’s next for her?

Zhao’s next project is a lofty one: She’ll join the Marvel franchise by directing the movie Eternals, starring Salma Hayek, Angelina Jolie, Gemma Chan, Kit Harington, Kumail Nanjiani, and Richard Madden, so yeah, the cast is stacked.

Here’s the premise: “The saga of the Eternals, a race of immortal beings who lived on Earth and shaped its history and civilizations.”

That is…not a lot of information! Thankfully, the movie will be based on Jack Kirby’s ’70s Eternals comic (recently adapted by Neil Gaiman), so there is source material to peruse if you’re extra curious.

Zhao’s Eternals movie is set to debut on November 5, so mark your calendars accordingly.

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