Nomadland, the 2020 Golden Lion, wins three Oscars

26 April 2021

Oscars 2021

La Biennale di Venezia congratulates Chloé Zhao, Frances McDormand and the producers of Nomadland – the film that won the Golden Lion at the 77th Venice International Film Festival – for winning three Academy Awards at the Oscars Ceremony: Best Picture, Best Director (Chloé Zhao) and Best Actress in a Leading Role (Frances McDormand).

Director Alberto Barbera commented: “My congratulations to Chloé Zhao and Frances McDormand for the three Oscars that award the artistic daring and the human and social sensitivity with which they gave voice to those who have been forgotten by an idea of progress that ignores the most genuine values of solidarity and community. Having helped make this exceptional film known to the world is an honor and a source of pride for the Venice International Film Festival.”

For the second time in four years, after The Shape of Water (2017) by Guillermo del Toro, the film that won the Golden Lion takes the Oscar for Best Film. In the history of the Venice International Film Festival, this double victory occurred once in the past with Laurence Olivier’s Hamlet (1948). In recent years, the Oscar for Best Film has gone to other films that premiered at the Venice International Film Festival: Birdman (2014) by Alejandro G. Iñarritu and Spotlight (2015) by Tom McCarthy. In recent years, the Oscar for Best Director went, among others, to Gravity (2013) by Alfonso Cuarón, Birdman (2014) by Alejandro G. Iñarritu, La La Land (2016) by Damien Chazelle, The Shape of Water (2017) by Guillermo del Toro, Roma (2018) by Alfonso Cuarón, all of which had their world premiere at the Venice International Film Festival.

This is the second time in the history of the Academy Awards that a film directed by a woman wins the Oscars for Best Film and Best Director, after The Hurt Locker (2008) by Kathryn Bigelow, which also premiered at the Venice International Film Festival.

Starting with the Golden Lion at the 77th Venice International Film Festival last September, awarded by the International Jury chaired by Cate Blanchett, Nomadland has dominated this year’s international awards, winning among others the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival, two Golden Globes (Best Motion Picture – Drama and Best Director), four BAFTAs (Best Film, Best Direction, Best Actress, Best Cinematography), five Spirit Awards (Best Feature, Best Director, Best Female Lead, Best Cinematography, Best Editing). Nomadland had also won Oscar nominations for Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay), Best Film Editing and Best Cinematography.

Chloé Zhao is the fifth female director of a Golden Lion film in Venice after Margarethe Von Trotta with Die Bleierne Zeit (Marianne & Juliane, 1981), Agnès Varda with Sans Toit ni Loi (Vagabond, 1985), Mira Nair with Monsoon Wedding (2001), Sofia Coppola with Somewhere (2010).

Nomadland is the third feature-length film by director Chloé Zhao (Songs My Brothers Taught Me, The Rider), produced and starring the Oscar-winning actress Frances McDormand, and adapted from the book Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century (2017) by journalist Jessica Bruder. Searchlight Pictures acquired the international distribution rights for the film.

Nomadland tells the story of Fern (McDormand), a woman who, following the economic downfall of a rural town in Nevada, packs her bags and leaves with her van to try life on-the-road outside of conventional society, as a modern nomad. The film features the real-life nomads Linda May, Swankie and Bob Wells, who serve as mentors and companions to Fern in her journey across the vast landscape of the American West.

Biennale Cinema 2021

The 78th Venice International Film Festival, directed by Alberto Barbera and organized by La Biennale di Venezia, will take place from September 1st through 11th, 2021.

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