When the nominations were announced earlier this year, they made history – so it's little surprise that history was also made at the 93rd Academy Awards.
For the first time ever, more than one female filmmaker was nominated for Best Director at the Hollywood ceremony.
At the star-studded affair, held on Sunday night, Chloe Zhao was announced as the winner of the prestigious category, becoming only the second woman to win the award, after Kathryn Bigelow's 2010 victory for The Hurt Locker.
In the process, Chinese-born Zhao also became the first woman of colour to take home the honour.
The filmmaker was awarded the golden statuette for Nomadland, a recession-era portrait of itinerant people in the American West.
Zhao was nominated alongside Promising Young Woman's Emerald Fennell – who won Best Original Screenplay on the night – and One Night in Miami's Regina King for Best Director.
Accepting the award at the Union Station ceremony, Zhao paid tribute to a poem she learnt thanks to her father.
"When I was growing up in China, my dad and I would play this game. We would memorise classic poems and text and try to finish each other's sentences,” the director said, revealing one translated as: “People at birth are inherently good.”
“I have always found goodness in the people I met,” she continued, adding that “this [award] is for anyone who has the faith and courage to hold on to the goodness in themselves".
Zhao, who is helming upcoming Marvel film The Eternals starring Angelina Jolie, also acknowledged the significance her win may have on minority groups.
"If this means more people like me get to live their dreams, then I feel very grateful," she added.
Follow The National’s live coverage of the 93rd Oscars here.