Academy Awards 2021: Chloe Zhao and Emerald Fennell break Oscars records with their wins on historic night

Chloé Zhao makes history as first woman of color to win “Best Director”
Chloé Zhao makes history as first woman of color to win “Best Director”
Photo by Todd Wawrychuk/A.M.P.A.S. via Getty Images

Judging from the list of Academy Award winners, it looks like Hollywood received the message regarding diversity and inclusion. For the first time in Academy Award history, women are paving the way, with Chloé Zhao and Emerald Fennell at the forefront.

During Sunday’s Oscars, both female filmmakers took home awards for their films, “Nomadland” and “Promising Young Woman.” While Zhao become the first woman of first woman of Asian descent to take home the Oscar for “Best Director,” Fennell became the first woman to take home an award for “Best Screenplay.”

In addition to being the first woman of color to win the award, Zhao is only the second female director to take home the award. Kathryn Bigelow was the first female filmmaker to take home an Oscar for Best Director for 2008’s The Hurt Locker.

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“Mianri” actress Youn Yuh-jung also made history as the first Korean and second Asian to take home an Oscar for “Best Supporting Actress.”

Throughout the years, women have often been overlooked during award shows, especially within directing and writing categories. In the past, no more than one female director was included at a time within the best director category.

We can’t help but remember Natalie Portman’s comment during the 2018 Academy Awards, when the actress called out “all the male nominees” within the Best Director category. Although there have been great strides in regards to representation within film and television within the last few years, there’s evidently still a long way to go.

Hopefully this year’s winners will change that, and pave the way for more talented women and individuals of color to take the lead.

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