Oscars 2021: 'Nomadland' emerges as big winner after unconventional ceremony

Tom Beasley
·Contributor
·2-min read

Watch: Nomadland wins big

Nomadland was the big winner of an Oscars ceremony rendered unusual by the effects of COVID-19 — and further over-shadowed by a deeply misjudged conclusion.

Chloe Zhao's take on a woman who chooses to live a nomadic lifestyle after losing her job due to the financial crisis won three awards.

Read more: All of the winners at the Oscars 2021

It scooped the top Best Picture prize, as well as Best Actress for star Frances McDormand and an historic Best Director victory for Zhao — only the second woman to ever win the award.

Six movies managed to win two awards, with The Father, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, Sound of Metal, Mank, Soul and Judas and the Black Messiah each managing a pair of gongs.

Chloe Zhao, winner of Best Picture for
Chloe Zhao, winner of Best Picture for "Nomadland," poses in the press room at the Oscars on Sunday, April 25, 2021. (Photo by Chris Pizzello-Pool/Getty Images)

Accepting the Best Picture award, Zhao said: “We thank all the hearts and hands that came together to make this movie."

She added a note of thanks for the real-life nomads who helped the team — and in some cases appear in the movie — who Zhao said taught her "the power of resilience".

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McDormand urged those watching the ceremony to seek out Nomadland and "watch our movie on the largest screen possible" before howling in tribute to the film's late sound mixer Michael Wolf Snyder.

In a break from tradition, Best Director was announced early in the ceremony and Best Picture was handed out prior to the acting awards.

Frances McDormand and Chloe Zhao pose in the press room at the Oscars on Sunday, April 25, 2021. (Photo by Chris Pizzello-Pool/Getty Images)
Frances McDormand and Chloe Zhao pose in the press room at the Oscars on Sunday, April 25, 2021. (Photo by Chris Pizzello-Pool/Getty Images)

McDormand immediately returned to the stage to accept her third Best Actress award — having won previously for both Fargo and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri — and quipped that the ceremony should feature a karaoke bar.

She added: "I have no words. 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."

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Other big awards on the night went to The Father for Best Actor (Anthony Hopkins) and Best Adapted Screenplay, while Promising Young Woman won for Best Original Screenplay.

The ceremony was split over multiple locations this year, including Union Station in Los Angeles and the BFI in London.

Nomadland is due to be released in the UK via the Star platform on Disney+ from 30 April.

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