Chloe Zhao’s “Nomadland” continued its tour of dominance through awards season Sunday, where it won four prizes including best picture at the British Academy Film Awards. One day earlier, Zhao took top honors at the 73rd annual Directors Guild Association Awards.
Zhao became only the second woman, and the first woman of color, to win the BAFTA for best director, and star Frances McDormand was named best actress. “Nomadland” also took the cinematography prize.
Zhao is also the second woman to earn the top prize at DGA awards and the first woman of color to do so. Kathryn Bigelow was the first for “The Hurt Locker.” And it all but solidifies her frontrunner status leading up to the Oscars on April 25.
Only seven times in history has the DGA winner ever not gone on to take the best director prize at the Academy Awards.
Zhao’s lyrical film about transient workers in the American West starring Frances McDormand started its awards journey winning the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, the People’s Choice award at the Toronto International Film Festival, the Golden Globe for best drama and best director and the top honor from the Producer’s Guild.
Zhao grew up in Beijing, China, but went on to receive her college education in the United States.
Despite the film’s success, Chinese authorities are said to have ordered state media outlets to downplay the 93rd Oscars ceremony, with China’s state broadcaster CCTV saying it will cancel its planned live streaming. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s Publicity Department issued orders to national and regional news agencies to fade Zhao from the nation’s attention or to focus on less sensitive nominations, media sources revealed.
This came after some past comments Zhao made that were critical of Chinese society.
In 2013, she referred to China as “a place where there are lies everywhere” when she discussed her childhood in an interview with Filmmaker magazine, a New York-based quarterly publication.
Chinese authorities have not confirmed whether “Nomadland” will be released in China.
Epoch Times reporter Frank Yue and The Associated Press contributed to this report