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Chloé Zhao Brought These Nomadland Stars as Her Guests to the 2021 Oscars

Best Director nominee Chloé Chao brought Linda May and Swankie, who are featured Nomadland as her guests for the 2021 Oscars. Meet the people behind the movie here.

By Cydney Contreras Apr 25, 2021 11:14 PMTags
Watch: "Nomadland" Director Chloe Zhao on Importance of Being Spontaneous

Chloé Zhao and Joshua James Richards are recognizing the women who starred in their Oscar-nominated film Nomadland.

The director and cinematographer brought Linda May and Swankie as their dates to the Academy Awards. The pair played a pivotal role in the screenwriting process, and were so helpful, Chloé wrote them into the movie.

The group of four stopped to chat with E! News' Giuliana Rancic, with Linda May describing how "surreal" it was to be on the red carpet at Union Station. As she put it, "[It's] nothing that I ever expected would happen to me."

Swankie chimed in, "What she said!"

"And I'm not an actor," Swankie continued. "It's not my acting that's Oscar-worthy, it's my nomadic lifestyle that is Oscar-worthy." 

Chloé added that Swankie and Linda's life helped to inspire her filmmaking process, revealing that some of the scenes were actually "spontaneous."

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Red Carpet Flashback: 2001 Oscars

She explained, "It's important because the lives of these wonderful people, sometimes to capture it, we have to have that freedom."

Chris Pizzelo-Pool/Getty Images

Chloé shared that she finds great joy in this flexibility, because, as a filmmaker, she sees herself as a nomad too.

"I feel like sometimes filmmaking could be a quite lonely and transient existence," Chloé explained. "We go from movies to movies to movies and having been with a lot of nomads, [they] also live a transient life, but there's a great sense of community that they've built for themselves, that you feel like you're part of something bigger. And I try to see things the same way."

At tonight's ceremony, Nomadland is up for awards in four categories, including Best Director. If Chloé wins the honor, she will be the first nonwhite woman to be recognized in the category and the second female director to win overall. 

To see the complete list of nominees, click here!

Visit E! News' 2021 Oscars blog for every headline and all the biggest moments from the 2021 Academy Awards!