Chloé Zhao on Lack of Women Nominated for Best Director Oscar: ‘There’s Clearly a Very Big Gap’
Chloé Zhao has known “Everything Everywhere All at Once” directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert — aka, the Daniels — for about a decade. They met when they were fellows at the Sundance Directors Lab.
“They were making ‘Swiss Army Man,’” Zhao recalls. “To be able to reunite with them and see that they have been able to stay as authentic as when I first met them 10 years ago and the world embracing them, it’s so beautiful to watch.”
More from Variety
David Letterman Calls Out Tom Cruise for Skipping the Oscars, Jimmy Kimmel Agrees He 'Should've Been There': 'Yeah, Of Course!'
Karamo Brown Reveals Talk Show Season 2 Renewal, Says He's 'Praying' for More 'Queer Eye' (EXCLUSIVE)
Ke Huy Quan, Comeback Kid: The Oscar Winner on 'Everything Everywhere,' Kissing Harrison Ford and Why He's Worried About What Comes Next
I recently caught up with Zhao, who became the second woman ever and first woman of color to win best director at the Oscars for “Nomadland” in 2021, ahead of this year’s big night. She’s teamed up with Johnnie Walker on First Strides, an initiative that has provided more than $1 million to women’s organizations such as IFundWomen and She Should Run since its launch a year ago. The Johnnie Walker program is part of Friday’s Women in Film pre-Oscars event in Hollywood, providing free 30-day trials to MUBI to encourage people to watch more women-made films. “I joined Johnnie Walker to not only celebrate but to create support for women filmmakers and women-made films,” Zhao said.
Controversy erupted when the 2023 Oscar nominations were announced and no women were named in the race for best director. “There’s clearly a very big gap for women filmmakers in our industry,” Zhao said.
The “Eternals” director said Hollywood needs to do a better job at increasing the visibility of women who are nominated for awards and funding more women-led projects. “We’re not doing it for awards, but that does help for the longevity of careers,” she said.
Zhao also wants to see more women creatives in sci-fi.
“The genre inspires the next generation and young people to be scientists one day,” she said. “What we do in sci-fi right now really helps raise our technology because the people that are watching those stories will become the scientists who create the technology for our future.”
Best of Variety
Final Oscars Predictions: Animated Short - Will the Academy Go for 'The Boy' or 'Dicks?'
Final Oscar Predictions: Documentary Short - Will the Academy Go for Malala or 'Elephants?'
Sign up for Variety’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.