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I am the FIRST

Chloé Zhao becomes first woman of color to win Oscars Best Director

Chloé Zhao made history on Sunday when she was awarded the Best Director Oscar for "Nomadland" — making her the first female of color and first Chinese American woman to win the prestigious prize in the Academy Awards' 93-year history to win.

Why it matters: Zhao's victory is a win for Asian American women in Hollywood, who are often overlooked for main character, producer and director roles.


What they're saying: In an acceptance speech, Zhao recited a poem that inspired her as a young girl in Mandarin.

  • "People at birth are inherently good," she said, translating the poem. "Those six letters had such a great impact on me as a kid and I still truly believe them today."

Be smart: Zhao is just the second woman in history to win the Oscar for Best Director, following Kathryn Bigelow for "The Hurt Locker" in 2010.

The big picture: Diversity was highlighted more on Sunday during the 93rd Academy Awards than perhaps any other show in Oscars history.

  • Following Zhao's win, Yuh-Jung Youn, who is South Korean, won the award for best supporting actress for her role in "Minari."

Go deeper: Read more on the Oscars in Monday's Axios AM newsletter

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