At tonight's 93rd Annual Academy Awards, Nomadland director Chloé Zhou becomes the first Chinese woman and second woman in history to win an Oscar in the directing category. Zhou's film also wins for Best Picture. The 2021 Oscars marks the first time in history more than one woman has been nominated for Best Director—Emerald Fennell, who takes home an award for Best Original Screenplay for Promising Young Woman, was also nominated. This year's Oscar nominees across all categories proved to be the most diverse in history, including more women and people of color than ever before.
After calls for change following 2015's #OscarsSoWhite, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has made visible strides for inclusion. Along with Zhou's win, Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson become the first Black women, and first Black people, to win for Best Makeup and Hair. The pair, aongside Sergio Lopez-Rivera, worked on Ma Rainey's Black Bottom.
Minari actress Youn Yuh-Jung also sets a precedent as the first Korean actor to win an Oscar, earning Best Supporting Actress. Last year, director Bong Joon Ho became the first South Korean ever to win an Academy Award in any category, with the thriller taking home four trophies for Best Picture, Best Director, Best International Feature Film, and Best Original Screenplay.
Throughout the evening, winners have taken the opportunity to use their speeches to amplify messages of hope, addressing diversity in the film industry, Black Lives Matter, #StopAsianHate, and more. In Zhou's speech, she recited a Mandarin phrase that translates to “people at birth are inherently good," dedicating the award to those who have "the faith and the courage to hold on to the goodness in themselves. And to hold on to the goodness in each other, no matter how difficult it is to do that.