By David Crow

In 2021, Chloé Zhao appears ready to conquer the world.

With the Oscars upon us, her third directorial film, Nomadland, is a Best Picture frontrunner.

And later in the year, her fourth film is scheduled to drop in November: Marvel’s Eternals.

Often Marvel directors are early enough in their career few recognize the name...

Zhao could begin her Marvel reign with an Oscar.

President of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige and director Chloe Zhao of Marvel Studios' 'The Eternals' at the San Diego Comic-Con 2019

It’s an unlikely turn for a Chinese filmmaker from the world of indie cinema.

Zhao was born in Beijng, with a love for Western pop culture in the 1980s. She later she studied film at NYU.

Her first film, Songs My Brother Taught Me premiered at Sundance in 2015.

The film is about the Lakota Sioux siblings, and was shot on location at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation with nonactors.

The movie earned Zhao an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best First Feature.

Actress Irene Bedard, actor John Reddy, actress Jashaun St. John, producer Forest Whitaker and writer/director Chloe Zhao of "Songs My Brothers Taught Me"

Her follow-up The Rider earned even more acclaim, including nominations for Best Picture and Best Director at the Spirits.

Brady Jandreau and Chloe Zhao attend the Los Angeles Special Industry Screening Of "The Rider" at Writers Guild Theater

That 2017 film was based on a cowboy she befriended during the filming of Songs My Brother Taught Me.

With Brady Jandreau playing a version of himself: a young cowboy who’s career and identity are shattered after a near fatal head injury.

With Nomadland, Zhao further accentuates her blending of narrative and documentary filmmaking by studying American Nomads.

Our TIFF review compared it to The Grapes of Wrath, saying “Frances McDormand’s Ma Joad travels only with her ghosts.”

The movie has already been declared Best Picture by the New York Film Critics Circle and AFI.

And next up? Dracula!

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