The notion of the Oscars in the pandemic era is an exceptionally strange one. I haven’t even set foot in a movie theater since Joker came out in 2019, and while I’ve had no shortage of viewing at home, most of the movies I’ve been watching in quarantine are at least 20 years old. But even if the populace isn’t all there to see it, the movie industry marches on, which means there are plenty of awards to dole out, including the coveted prize for Best Picture.
This year, the Oscars for both Best Picture and Best Director went to Chloé Zhao for her film Nomadland, which details the life and travels of a woman living out of a van after losing her job in the Great Recession of the late 2000s. It was an extraordinarily well-received picture, which is why its victory at the Oscars wasn’t especially surprising to anyone, but surprising or not, Zhao was elated to win such a desired titles, especially since she was the second woman and first person of color to receive Best Director.
“I have always found goodness in the people I’ve met everywhere I went in the world,” said Zhao when accepting the award for Best Director. “This is for anyone who has the faith and the courage to hold on to the goodness in themselves and to hold on the goodness in other no matter how difficult it is to do that.”
Chloé Zhao, who directed “Nomadland,” became the first woman of color, the first Chinese woman and the second woman ever to win the Academy Award for directing. #Oscars https://t.co/hyssgGKLAK pic.twitter.com/dysTHrcRsO
— The New York Times (@nytimes) April 26, 2021
Due to the nature of the pandemic keeping butts out of theater seats, Nomadland was simultaneously released on streaming platform Hulu, where it received the bulk of its views. The film’s star, Frances McDormand, requested that fans of the movie see it in a theater as soon as they are able.
“Please watch our movie on the largest screen possible,” McDormand said. “And one day very, very soon, take everyone you know into a theater, shoulder to shoulder in that dark space, and watch every film that’s represented here tonight.”