Although they were initially proud of Chloe Zhao for being the first Asian woman to win Best Director at the Golden Globes, it looks like China is turning away from the filmmaker over a controversial remark she made in the past.

As reported on Mingpao, mainland netizens are now slamming the “Nomadland” director for her two past statements that they deemed unnationalistic and insulting towards China – the first one being a 2013 interview with Filmmaker Magazine, in which she spoke about making films in America and expressed, “It goes back to when I was a teenager in China, being in a place where there are lies everywhere.”

“Nomadland” won the Best Director and Best Picture awards at the Golden Globes
Chloe Zhao with actress Frances McDormand during the making of “Nomadland”

Another quote that angered Chinese netizens was from an interview in December last year with an Australian website, when Zhao supposedly stated that the United States is now her country. The website had since updated the story saying that it had misquoted the filmmaker.

Although “Nomadland” has been scheduled for a limited theatrical release in China this April, the resurfacing interview had since caused the publicity for the film to be censored, with nothing about it to be found on social media platforms such as Weibo and Douban.

The backlash is not only affecting the said movie, as many believed that it could also pose a problem for Disney – seeing that Zhao directed the upcoming Marvel blockbuster, “Eternals”, which is scheduled for a release in China on 5 November.


Despite the controversy, Zhao recently bagged another Best Director award at the Critics’ Choice Awards. She also won Best Adapted Screenplay, while the movie won Best Cinematography.

(Photo Source: AWFJ, Nomadland Film Instagram, Eternals Movie Instagram)