Chinese Directors Making It Big In Hollywood

Asians have been getting more recognition in Hollywood — and deservedly so. The entertainment industry is finally making way for people that are not cisgender white men.

Here are some Asian directors who are breaking barriers with their recent big wins in Hollywood:

Chloé Zhao

Chloe Zhao. Photo courtesy of IMDb. Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

Previously, Asian American films directed by Asian directors have had to compete in the foreign films category in order to be recognized. Women directors were snubbed in the industry with only 7 women being nominated in the category in the Golden Globes’ 77 years of existence. This year, the first woman of Asian descent was nominated for a Golden Globe in the directing category. Her name is Chloé Zhao.

The director was nominated for her film, Nomadland, which stars Oscar winner Frances McDormand as a woman looking for work after her husband’s death in her small factory town. Zhao’s next film is no less than a Marvel movie called, Eternals, starring Angelina Jolie, Kit Harington, and more.

The director’s nomination should come as no surprise as the film has earned top prizes in the Toronto and Venice Film Festivals. Chloé has also been commended for her work throughout the season, including awards from prestigious critics organizations like the National Society of Film Critics, The Los Angeles Film Critics Association, and New York Film Critics Circle.


Jon M. Chu

Jon M. Chu. Photo courtesy of IMDb.

Another Chinese director making headlines recently is Jon M. Chu, who is slated to direct the movie adaptation of the hit Broadway musical, Wicked. You may recognize the name as the man behind the hit film, Crazy Rich Asians, but you might not have known he also directed Now You See Me 2 and Justin Bieber: Never Say Never.


Lulu Wang

Lulu Wang. Photo courtesy of IMDb.

Lulu Wang directed the 2020 Golden Globe nominated film, The Farewell. Back then, it was forced to compete as a foreign film, but its star, Awkwafina, did win Best Actress in a Musical/Comedy. One of her more notable works aside from The Farewell is her short, The Touch, which focuses on a misunderstood touch between an elderly Chinese man and a young American boy and how he struggles with his son and the legal system to put context into the touch.


Ang Lee

Ang Lee. Photo courtesy of IMDb. Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images.

This director needs no introduction and has been making it big in Hollywood for a while. With award-winning films like Life of Pi; Sense and Sensibility; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; and Brokeback Mountain in his portfolio, you’ve most likely been a fan of Ang Lee without realizing it.


We can’t wait for many more Asian directors to make it in Hollywood. Which Chinese directed film is your favorite?


Looking for more Asians making it big in Hollywood? Check out the Asian stars in small and big roles in all Star Wars franchises here.

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