It was a big night for director Chloé Zhao at the 2021 Oscars. Her film Nomadland took the top prize for Best Picture, following her groundbreaking win for Best Director earlier in the night.
In her acceptance speech, the Chinese-born director shouted out the people who helped inspire her retelling of the book, saying, “To the nomad community. All the people we met on the road. Thank you for teaching us the power of resilience and hope. And for reminding us what true kindness looks like.”
The movie’s star Frances McDormand, who is still vying for the Best Actress award, also helped accept the award and bellowed out a wolf cry to honor their production sound mixer, Michael Wolf Snyder, who died in March by suicide at the age of 35.
The actress expressed hope that, one day in the near future, those who want to see Nomadland on the big screen will be able to do so.
“And one day, very, very soon, take everyone you know into a theater, shoulder to shoulder. That dark space. And watch every film that is represented here tonight,” she said.
“We give this one to our wolf!” she said, before giving off that now-viral wolf howl.
The acceptance speech did have one hitch, with Zhao introducing McDormand as “Fern,” her character’s name — to which the actress quipped, “No, I’m not. I’m Fran.”
By winning Best Director, Zhao become the second woman to win the honor following Kathryn Bigelow‘s 2009 win for The Hurt Locker. Zhao is also the first woman of color to win the honor for Best Director.
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.