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It’s been a victorious awards season for “Nomadland” and now, Chloé Zhao’s film has scored Oscar gold.
“We thank all of the hearts and hands that come together to make this movie,” Zhao, 39, said Sunday from LA’s Union Station.
She also thanks “all the people we met on the road” … “for reminding us what true kindness looks like.”
Predicted to be the favorite of the night, “Nomadland” beat out eight other films for the evening’s top honors. Zhao’s movie starring Frances McDormand, 63, was nominated for six awards by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, but it was Zhao who made history as the first woman of color to receive the Best Director win.
McDormand joined Zhao on stage and gave a speech championing movie theatres amid the struggle during the pandemic showdown, concluding in a howl.
“Please watch our movie on the largest screen possible and one day soon take everyone you know into a theatre shoulder to shoulder into that dark space and watch every film that’s represented here tonight,” she said before letting out the howl.
In the film, McDormand plays Fern, a 60-something embarking on a quest through America for healing and discovery as a modern-day nomad living in a van.
“Nomadland” recently had a big night at the British Academy of Film and Television Awards (BAFTAs), scoring awards for best film, best director, leading actress and cinematography for Joshua James Richards.
It began the season strong, scoring wins for best picture and best director at the Golden Globes in February.
“This award belongs to the whole ‘Nomadland’ team, the entire cast and crew,” Zhao said in her Globes acceptance speech, thanking the real-life nomads who were cast in the film. “You all know who you are. I especially want to thank the nomads who shared their stories with us. Compassion is the breakdown of all barriers between us. A heart-to-heart bonding. Your pain is my pain. It’s mingled and shared between us. Now, this is why I fell in love with making movies and telling stories. Because it gives us a chance to laugh and cry together. And it gives us to learn from each other and have more compassion for each other.”
At the Critics Choice Awards in March, Zhao and her film took home top awards for best director and best film – drama, as well as the best picture award at the Producers Guild Awards’ virtual ceremony that same month.
“In a year when we have been living such isolated lives, we were proud to make a movie about community and what connects us,” Peter Spears, one of the film’s producers said at the PGAs. “You honor the entire ‘Nomadland’ company with this award … [including its] community of nomads that taught us about the power of resilience, hope and kindness.”
Most recently, Zhao called the movie, which is an adaptation of the 2017 nonfiction best-seller by Jessica Bruder, “deeply meaningful” to her while accepting the best director accolade at the Dorian Film Awards, where it also won best film.
“‘Nomadland’ is about a woman who goes on a journey of grief and healing and ultimately of self-discovery and self-acceptance,” Zhao said, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
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