Maximizing the benefits of nanomaterials from biomass requires unique considerations associated with their native chemical and physical structure. Both cellulose nanofibrils and nanocrystals are extracted from cellulose fibers via a top-down approach and have significantly advanced materials chemistry and set new benchmarks in the last decade. One major challenge has been to prepare defined and selectively modified nanocelluloses, which would, e.g., allow optimal particle interactions and thereby further improve the properties of processed materials. At the molecular and crystallite level, the surface of nanocelluloses offers an alternating chemical structure and functional groups of different reactivity, enabling straightforward avenues towards chemically anisotropic and molecularly patterned nanoparticles via spatioselective chemical modification. In this review, we will explain the influence and role of the multiscale hierarchy of cellulose fibers in chemical modifications, and critically discuss recent advances in selective surface chemistry of nanocelluloses. Finally, we will demonstrate the potential of those chemically anisotropic nanocelluloses in materials science and discuss challenges and opportunities in this field.