Chloé Zhao Becomes the First Woman of Color to Win the Top Directorial Award at DGA

Chloe Zhao

Chloé Zhao made history once again after becoming the second woman and the first woman of color to win top honors at the 73rd annual Directors Guild Association Awards on Saturday night.

The prestigious event did away with the award ceremony, usually held in Beverly Hills, with nominees participating virtually via Zoom this year, the Associated Press reported.

Zhao received the Directors Guild of America Award for “Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film,” a recognition that has previously proven to be a good barometer for the Academy Award for Best Director. 

The filmmaker competed for her work on “Nomadland” against fellow nominees Emerald Fennell for “Promising Young Woman,” Aaron Sorkin for “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” Lee Isaac Chung for “Minari” and David Fincher for “Mank.” 

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The nominees are very similar to the current Oscars lineup, with the only difference being the inclusion of Sorkin in place of Thomas Vinterberg for “Another Round.”

In DGA’s over 70-year history, only seven top honor winners have not gone on to win the “Best Director” award at the Oscars. Last year, “1917” director Sam Mendes received the DGA award but “Parasite” director Bong Joon Ho went on to win the Academy honor for “Best Director.”

Kathryn Bigelow was the first female director to receive the DGA award in 2009 for her work on “The Hurt Locker.”

Meanwhile, Zhao also became only the second woman, and the first woman of color, to win best director at the British Academy Film Awards on Sunday.

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Feature Image via Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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