The win represents McDormand’s third in the category, with the actor having previously won Best Actress for her roles in Fargo (in 1997) andThree Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (in 2018).
Nomadland also won Best Picture and Best Director (for Chloe Zhao). In the film, McDormand plays a woman struggling to stay afloat in the contemporary American west.
“I have no words,” said McDormand in her acceptance speech. “My voice is in my sword. We know the sword is our work and I like work. Thank you for knowing that and thanks for this.”
Also nominated in the Best Actress category were Andra Day (for The United States vs Billie Holiday), Carey Mulligan (for Promising Young Woman), Vanessa Kirby (for Pieces of a Woman) and Viola Davis (for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom).
The 93rd Academy Awards took place on 25 April, having been delayed for two months due to the ongoing pandemic.
The ceremony was held primarily in Los Angeles’s famed Union Station, with nominees from outside of the US attending the event via international hubs.
Among the films competing for top awards were Emerald Fennell’s feminist revenge satire Promising Young Woman, and the August Wilson play adaptation Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.
Going into the night, David Fincher’s Mank had the most nominations (10), including for Best Director, Best Actor for Gary Oldman and Best Supporting Actress for Amanda Seyfried.
The Father, Minari, Nomadland, Sound of Metal and The Trial of the Chicago 7 all had six nods apiece.