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‘Nomadland’ director Chloé Zhao makes history at Directors Guild awards on way to Oscars

  • April 11, 2021

Chloé Zhao, the Oscar-nominated director of “Nomadland,” made history as she accepted the film award for outstanding directorial achievement at the 2021 Directors Guild of America Awards.

Zhao, 39, is the second woman to earn the honor (after Kathryn Bigelow for “The Hurt Locker”) and the first woman of color to do so. It all but solidifies her frontrunner status leading up to the Oscars on April 25.

“Sound of Metal” director Darius Marder won first-time feature film director. Documentarians Michael Dweck and Gregory Kershaw won for “The Truffle Hunters.”

Usually held in a ballroom ceremony in Beverly Hills, this year’s untelevised event was held virtually with nominees accepting awards over Zoom calls from around the world, featuring presentations by Tiffany Haddish, Bill Hader, Ava DuVernay, Spike Jonez, Sam Mendes and more. 

Interview:Meet ‘Nomadland’ director Chloé Zhao, who just made Oscar history (and was Spike Lee’s student)

Chloe Zhao became the second woman and first woman of color to take home the top prize at the virtual 2021 Directors Guild of America Awards.

The DGA Awards are often a strong bellwether for the Academy Awards. Aside from last year, every DGA winner since 2014 also won the Academy Award: Alfonso Cuaron for “Gravity” (2014), Alejandro G. Iñárritu for “Birdman” (2015) and “The Revenant” (2016), Damien Chazelle for “La La Land” (2017), Guillermo del Toro for “The Shape of Water” (2018) and Cuaron for “Roma” (2019). 

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