Ever humble and even-keeled, Zhao reflected on dual wins at Sunday’s Golden Globe awards — where she was the first woman of Asian descent to win best director (and second woman in the history of the show), as well as best motion picture drama for her Searchlight Pictures release.
“Sometimes a first feels like a long time coming. I’m sure there’s many others before me deserve the same recognition,” said Zhao at a virtual backstage conference. “I just love what I do. If his means more people like me get to live their dream and get to do what I do, I’m happy.”
Led by Frances McDormand, Zhao’s “Nomadland” offers a breathtaking look at the world of van dwellers — particularly an older generation living an alternate lifestyle outside of consumerism, driven by wanderlust and economic uncertainty while surviving on the margins.
“If this means that more people w hen they walk down the road and see someone who is not living in a traditional home, an alternative life style, you wave and say hi. It will make their day. The recognition, the awareness that I think it will bring to the nomadic community, is a great thing.,” she said.
There was one free spirit, however, Zhao could not account for. Her leading lady.
“Fran really lives her art. She’s probably somewhere in the desert right now. We don’t know where she is,” Zhao admitted. “Tt’s been a privilege to be able to see the world thru her eyes and to be able to craft this character with her.”