Chloé Zhao has walked away with the big prize at the 93rd Academy Awards as her brilliant film Nomadland wins the coveted Best Picture award.
Zhao, who made history to become only the second woman to win the Best Director prize at the Oscars, again emerged victorious during a hectic night in Los Angeles as she became the first woman of colour to win Best Director.
To round off a wonderful night for Zhao, Nomadland took the big award of the night and was named Best Picture. “Please watch our movie on the largest screen possible,” Frances McDormand said in the acceptance speech. “We give this one to our wolf,” she added, before letting out a wild wolf howl.
Nomadland, which stars Francis McDormand as a modern-day nomad living out of a van owing to the economic impact of the Great Recession, slots the actress into the path of these real-life individuals, creating a docu-fiction in which the story of Fern, a member of this lost generation escapes her past life in pursuit of the bliss of the nomad.
“Chloé Zhao’s film is a painting of both the landscape of contemporary periphery America and a portrait of those that inhabit its space,” Far Out’s five-star review states. “Crafted with a gentle passionate lyricism, Nomadland bypasses the futility of the American dream and accesses the very heart of the American soul.”
It’s a sentiment that has been shared with the Academy, who named Zhao’s effort the greatest release of the year. In truth, the competition for Nomadland wasn’t particularly strong, but that shouldn’t take away from its brilliance. Zhao has created a legacy film, pioneering a new form of expression, telling a brutally honest story of modern America and all the pitfalls that come to those struggling with its increasingly tough social constraints.