Frances McDormand rounded off a spectacular evening for Nomadland by winning Best Actress for her performance in Nomadland.
Director Chloé Zhao, who already won Best Director, was joined on stage by the crew to collect the award for Best Picture. Shortly after, McDormand completed a hat-trick when she took the Best Actress gong.
Nomadland, which stars 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.