Oscars 2021: Chloe Zhao Wins Best Director

It's Hollywood's biggest night with the 93rd Academy Awards taking place tonight, Sunday, April 25th, in Los Angeles, and while last year was like no other in the world of entertainment, there were still many incredible films to celebrate as well as the directors that helped bring them to life. This year, Chloe Zhao wins the Oscar for Best Director for Nomadland in a packed category that included nominees Thomas Vinterbeg for Another Round, David Fincher for Mank, Lee Isaac Chung for Minari, and Emerald Fennell for Promising Young Woman.

This is Zhao's first Academy Award win. She was also nominated in the Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Film Editing categories. She is the second woman to win an Academy Award for Best Director, after Kathryn Bigelow who won for 2009's The Hurt Locker. Zhao is also the first woman of color to win Best Director. Zhao was a favorite going into tonight's Oscars, having won the BAFTA, Golden Globe, Directors Guild of America Award, and Critics' Choice Award for best director for Nomadland as well. It is also worth noting that this year's Academy Awards is the first time that two women have been nominated for Best Director in the same year with Fennell being nominated for Promising Young Woman.

Zhao's Nomadland stars Frances McDormand as a van-dwelling woman who leaves her hometown following the death of her husband and after the town's sole industry closes to travel around the United States as a "houseless" person. The film is based on the 2017 book Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century by Jessica Bruder.

The 93rd Academy Awards looked a little different this year. The ceremony took place a few months after the originally set date of February 28th, with the delay allowing an extended window of competition for the awards as this year's eligibility window ran from January 1, 2020, through February 28, 2021, rather than the typical January to December schedule. The Oscars also saw the in-person telecast broadcast from multiple locations – Los Angeles Union Station and the Dolby Theater.

"In this unique year that has asked so much of so many, the Academy is determined to present an Oscars like none other, while prioritizing the public health and safety of all those who will participate. To create the in-person show our global audience wants to see while adapting to the requirements of the pandemic, the ceremony will broadcast live from multiple locations, including the landmark Dolby Theatre. We look forward to sharing more details soon," an AMPAS spokesperson shared in a statement.

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