‘Nomadland’ Wins Best Picture at 93rd Academy Awards

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“Nomadland”, Chloe Zhao”s meditative drama about grief and finding solace outside the traditional structure of a family, won best picture Oscar at the 93rd Academy Awards with Zhao becoming the first woman of colour to win best director

The film’s lead star Frances McDormand walked away with the best actress trophy, her third in the category after “Fargo” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”.

Zhao is the only second woman after Kathryn Bigelow’s “Hurt Locker” win in 2009 to win best director trophy at Oscars.

The film’s star MDormand struck a chord with her speech in a year that has seen theatres remain shut as people across the globe struggled with the coronavirus pandemic.

“One day very, very soon, take everyone you know into a theatre, shoulder to shoulder, in that dark space, and watch every film that”s represented here tonight,” McDormand, who has also produced the film with Zhao, said in her speech.

Zhao also spoke about her faith in humanity.

“I have always found goodness in the people I’ve met everywhere I went in the world,” said Zhao when accepting best director.

“This is for anyone who has the faith and the courage to hold on to the goodness in themselves and to hold on the goodness in other no matter how difficult it is to do that.”

The 39-year-old director, who moved to the US when she was a teenager, is a rising star in Hollywood with plum projects lined up ahead for her.

Based on Jessica Bruder’s book of the same name, “Nomadland” stars Frances McDormand as Fern, a woman who, after the economic collapse of her company town in rural Nevada, packs her van and sets off on the road to explore a life outside of conventional society as a modern-day nomad.

The filmmaker started her journey as a director with 2015 movie “Songs My Brothers Taught Me”. However, it was her second movie, “The Rider”, that brought critical-acclaim and global attention to her.

“Nomadland”, also starring David Strathairn and Linda May, has been praised by the critics for its story and performances by the cast, and for capturing the picturesque scenery of the American West.

The movie, which has picked up trophies at Golden Globes, Critics Choice Awards, BAFTA Awards, Independent Spirit Awards, has been produced by Zhao, McDormand, Peter Spears, Mollye Asher, and Dan Janvey, reported PTI.

She has in the past said she has been inspired by the works of cinema legends like Wong Kar-Wai and Terrence Malick.

Zhao is currently awaiting the release of her next Marvel Studios tentpole “Eternals”.

She will also be writing and directing a new take on monster character Dracula, which is being billed as an original, futuristic and sci-fi Western.

The Universal Pictures project will also tackle the theme of being on society’s fringes, something Zhao has dealt with in all her films. 

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