Chloé Zhao
Jake Sigl
United States China

Highwayman Films


Zhao is following an increasingly common career trajectory, first directing well-received low-budget indie dramas to helming a mega-budget comic book movie, in her case November 2021’s “Eternals” from Disney and Marvel. The difference is that Zhao’s happened to make “Nomadland,” which dominated the 2020-2021 awards season, culminating with a trio of Oscar wins for best picture, best actress (Frances McDormand) and best director for Zhao. In turn, Marvel also let her put more of a personal stamp on “Eternals,” shooting many scenes and sequences on location and working with stars Angelina Jolie, Gemma Chan and Lauren Ridloff to create more nuanced female superhero characters. In February, it was announced that Zhao is developing a sci-fi-western take on “Dracula” for Universal.




  • Mount Holyoke College (MA, USA)
  • New York University (NY, USA)

Variety Honors

  • 10 Directors to Watch
  • Inclusion Impact
  • Women's Impact
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