Chloe Zhao is the first woman of colour to win best director and only the second woman ever to win, Oscar best director award.
"Wuyizhidi," the Chinese title of the film, generated a hashtag that was viewed nearly 90 million times after the movie won "Best Motion Picture - Drama" and Zhao bagged "Best Director - Motion Picture" at the 78th Golden Globe Awards in February.
When the 93rd Academy Awards air on Sunday, Zhao could make yet more history by becoming the first Asian woman and first Chinese filmmaker to win Best Director.
Nomadland is up for a total of six Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Actress. On Weibo, however, Disney's Mulan received more fanfare when for its costume and visual effects nominations were announced last month.
Beijing-born Zhao, who is known as Zhao Ting in China, became the first Asian woman to win the award, and her success was celebrated in the country as a win for all Chinese.
Zhao, who now resides in the United States, moved to London for high school and attended college in Massachusetts.
In the 2013 interview —now only available as a web archive—with New York magazine Filmmaker, she described China as "a place where there are lies everywhere."
"You felt like you were never going to be able to get out. A lot of info I received when I was younger was not true, and I became very rebellious toward my family and my background," she said. "I went to England suddenly and relearned my history."
Her remarks have deemed an insult to China, and discussions about her talent soon turned to her citizenship and the lack of pride and loyalty she had toward her country of birth. Media outlets that continued to report on her Golden Globe successes were flooded with critical comments, some describing Zhao as "two-faced."
By the first week of March, widespread discussions about Nomadland were no more as internet censors silenced the phrase. Meanwhile, a hashtag bearing her Chinese name and another about her Golden Globe win remain, with 32 million and 350 million views respectively.
The few Weibo users who have mentioned the film this week have asked—to no reply—whether Nomadland will ever find its way into Chinese theaters. The government-backed cinema group National Alliance of Arthouse Cinemas (NAAC), which distributes movies across China, had planned a wide release of the film on April 23, but viewings appear to have been pulled.