With three trophies in the pocket, “Nomadland” is undoubtedly the biggest winner of the Oscars. The film shows a young man in his 60s who chooses (out of necessity) to live in a truck, between poverty and freedom. All three trophies are well deserved, but also very symbolic.
Let’s start with the most outstanding award for director Chloe Chow. In 2017, she really made an impression with the emotional movie The Rider, which is also a mesmerizing look at the American Outback. With barely three movies on the table, Zhao has now climbed to the highest stage in Hollywood. The feat is even more amazing when you know that she is only the second woman – and the first non-white woman – to receive an Academy Award for Best Directing, eleven years after Katherine Bigelow and “Hurt Locker”. Zhao also continues to surprise, as in her next movie she replaces her indie adventure style Marvel and Eternals. That company of superheroes (played by Angelina Jolie, Kit Harrington, and Salma Hayek, among others) has to make the tribute while waiting for the Avengers to return. Oscar Chloé Zhao is a major boost to Marvel’s marketing department.
Cheaters would call the Oscar winner “Nomadland” because it got the best movie award in a year when the movie theaters were largely closed and so there was no competition. However, the reactions describe the film as an instant classic. It was not without reason that Nomadland won the Golden Lion at the Venice Festival last year. By capturing people in front of the camera who live in untitled pickup trucks, Chow is condemning the impoverishment of the US middle class. Primarily, she does so in pictures of astonishing beauty, with which she recalls the ideal of freedom that allegedly formed the foundation of America. Four years into Trump’s rule, this message is more important than ever.
Add to that your third Francis McDormand Academy Award – she won previously for Fargo and Three Billboards – and the winning score makes perfect sense in Hollywood today. By presenting an award to a well-known actress and exciting young talent, the Oscars did the best it could: celebrate the American dream.