Beijing-born Zhao Ting won the Oscar for Best Director and Best Picture for Nomadland, which also gave the lead actress Frances Louise McDormand three posthumous Oscars.
However, the 26th edition of People magazine and other foreign newspapers reported that the Asian-Chinese director has received a lot of help behind the scenes, especially from the cinematographer, who is Zhao Ting’s boyfriend Joshua James Richards. Nomadic Life” depicts the story of Finn, a silver-haired woman who lost everything in the financial tsunami in 2008 and simply left her hometown and drove a camper van to live alone in the Midwest while traveling and working. The film’s director, who was nominated for Best Cinematography, is Lee Chaz, who has been in love with Zhao Ting for many years.
Zhao Ting, 39, and Lee Chaz, 36, have worked together on several films, and they bonded over a film project at New York University (NYU) in 2015. Ting was doing research for her independent film Songs My Brothers Taught Me while Chao, who is more than two years younger, was still studying film at NYU, but the two began working together.
Zhao Ting and boyfriend Lee Chaz were interviewed together for a piece of “The Rider” (Rebirth) in 2018
In 2017, they reunited in The Rider and became an indispensable partner for each other.
In fact, before becoming the first minority female director to win an Oscar, Ting Zhao had already won Best Picture and Best Director at the British Academy Film Awards, known as the British Oscars. The film also won the Best Cinematography Award.
Richards was very complimentary of his girlfriend, who is his sister, and said that Ting has a powerful ability with people and their stories. In fact, Chao Ting is known for her hyper-realistic films, often letting vegetarians play themselves, while Lee Chaz’s filming style brings out all the elements of the film.
While filming “Nomadic Life” in the summer of 2018, the two drove a Ford Transit commercial vehicle around the U.S. and West, and met with real “ranchers. “Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Oregon, Nevada,” says Richards, “we lived in a van and were trying to write a movie script.”
Now Ting Zhao and Chauncey are the most influential couple in Hollywood, with Angelina Jolie and Salma Hayek among the biggest names in Hollywood in their next movie, “The Eternals. And this is just another attempt for them.
Behind the scenes of Nomadland