At the 2021 Oscars on Sunday night, “Nomadland” director Chloé Zhao became the first woman of color and the first woman of Asian descent to win best director.
Her win comes as anti-Asian hate crimes are spiking in cities across the country and many have spoken out to encourage others to stand against anti-Asian violence and rhetoric.
Backstage, Zhao told ABC Audio that she hopes her win not only inspires filmmakers of Asian descent, but that film itself can help bring all people together.
“We have to tell the stories that we feel connected to. We shouldn’t feel like there’s [only] certain types of story we have to tell,” Zhao said.
“But [film is] a way for us to connect with other people,” she said. “That’s why I love filmmaking, you know, and hopefully a lot of the stories, brilliant stories we saw tonight, like Tyler Perry said, that was a beautiful speech, you know, ‘let’s get together and let’s stop hate.’ Hate for anybody.”
In Perry’s speech while accepting the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, he encouraged people to eradicate hate in all aspects of life.
“In this time, with all of the internet and social media and algorithms and everything that wants us to think a certain way — the 24-hour news cycle — it is my hope that all of us will teach our kids, and not only to remember, but just refuse hate,” the movie mogul said.
“Don’t hate anybody. I refuse to hate someone because they are Mexican or because they are Black or white or LGBTQ,” he continued. “I refuse to hate someone because they are a police officer, I refuse to hate someone because they are Asian. I would hope we would refuse hate.”
As for Zhao, her next big screen project is Marvel Studios’ “The Eternals,” now scheduled to come to theaters Nov. 5.
Marvel Studios is owned by Disney, the parent company of ABC News.
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