Chloé Zhao made history this awards season as the first woman of color to win an Oscar for directing. The Nomadland director was also the first woman to get four Oscar nominations in a single year, in ‘best film editing,’ ‘best-adapted screenplay,’ ‘best director,’ and ‘best picture’ categories.
Zhao decided to cast real-life nomads in Nomadland, instead of seasoned actors, because she was “looking for some kind of truth,” and, “for some kind of authentic moments.” Her movie offers a peek into the world of older Americans who live and travel in their vehicles, mostly for economic reasons. They embrace their nomadic lifestyle as an alternative to the ‘American dream.’
Much of her work features a more inclusive representation of American identity. In her first feature film Songs My Brothers Taught Me, which was shot at the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, she also used non-actors to authentically depict marginalized Americans and their multi-faceted identities. Zhao says, “There was such an American message and identity in these images… the clash between the old and the new, seeing a Lakota boy bareback on a horse at a gas station, and he’s wearing a Tupac T-shirt, is very special.”
The Optimist Daily is excited to see that more diverse identities are being recognized in popular media, and hope that Zhao’s Oscars win marks the beginning of even more recognition and funding for art from women of color.
Image source: CNBC