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Chloe Zhao Becomes Fifth Female Filmmaker To Win Golden Lion In Venice Film Festival History

Chloe Zhao’s upcoming feature film “Nomadland” created all the right noises at the Venice Film Festival and won the prestigious Golden Lion during the 77th edition of the famous international film fest. By winning the award, she has secured her place on the elite list of female filmmakers who have won the accolade during their careers.

The 38-year-old director has become only the fifth female filmmaker to claim the coveted trophy in the festival’s history, Vulture reported. Apart from Zhao, filmmakers like Mira Nair (India), Margarethe von Trotta (Germany), Agnès Varda (France), and Sofia Coppola (United States of America) also won the award.

Von Trotta was the first female filmmaker to win the trophy in 1981 for her film “Marianne and Juliane” while Varda won the accolade in 1985 for “Vagabond.”

Nair won the Golden Lion in 1991 for “Monsoon Wedding.” Meanwhile, the last woman to win the trophy was Coppola, who won the award for her movie “Somewhere” in 2010.

She also became the first woman of color to clinch the trophy after Nair in 2001, Variety reported.

Zhao’s victory in Venice has made her an early contender for a Best Picture nod at the 2021 Oscars. Todd Phillips’ “Joker” won the award last year and went on to get nominated at the Academy Awards that took place earlier this year.

Only six movies have gone to win the top prize at the Venice Film Festival and then get nominated for an Oscar. However, the last three winners – “The Shape Of Water,” “Roma,” and “Joker,” – achieved the feat.

Meanwhile, only two films have won Venice’s top prize and the Best Picture Oscar. Laurence Oliver’s 1948 blockbuster film “Hamlet” and Guillermo Del Toro’s “The Shape Of Water” in 2017 are the only two movies to pull off this miracle.

Zhao’s third feature film stars two-time Oscar-winning actress Frances McDormand in the lead role. The film chronicles the journey of a woman named Fern (played by McDormand) who has lost everything during the Great Recession. Fern embarks on a journey and starts living as a modern-day nomad.

Publications like IndieWire and The Guardian gave the movies five stars and called it a “magical” movie.

McDormand is also garnering universal acclaim for her acting skills and critics believe that the “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri” star could be on her way to win her third Oscar.

The movie is scheduled to hit the theaters on Dec. 4. 

Zhao will also be entering the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) as she is set to direct the upcoming movie “The Eternals” starring Salma Hayek, Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden, Kit Harrington, Kumail Nanjiani and Gemma Chan in pivotal roles. 

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