Shi wrote and directed the Pixar production, about a Chinese-Canadian woman and her little dumpling that miraculously springs to life.
WATCH: New Pixar animated short film called Bao
The eight-minute film is set in Toronto and features many of the city’s landmarks.
Bao tells the story of an aging Chinese mom suffering from empty-nest syndrome who gets another chance at motherhood when one of her dumplings springs to life.
Shi beat out two other animated films by Canadians for the Oscar — Weekends by Hamilton-born Trevor Jimenez and Animal Behaviour by Vancouver-based couple David Fine and Alison Snowden.
WATCH: Director of Pixar’s newest short film on the making of Bao
“To all of the nerdy girls out there who hide behind their sketchbooks — don’t be afraid to tell your stories to the world,” Shi said onstage in her acceptance speech.
“You’re going to freak people out but you’ll probably connect with them, too, and that’s an amazing feeling to have. Thank you to (executive producer) Pete Docter for believing in my weirdness and for giving me a voice at the studio.”
Many people took to Twitter to celebrate Bao’s win.
Shi was born in China and moved to Toronto with her family at age two. She used her upbringing and love of food as inspiration for Bao, which played in theatres with Incredibles 2.
Shi shares the Oscar with producer Becky Neiman-Cobb.
—With files from the Canadian Press