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Director Chloé Zhao Says the Everyday People Were the Guides of ‘Nomadland’

Emily Weaver
·2 min read
Nomadland
Nomadland

Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures

Chloé Zhao's Nomadland is shaping up to be one of the most critically acclaimed movies of the year. Based on the book by Jessica Bruder, the film centers on Fern (played by Frances McDormand) as she packs her life into a van to embark on a journey into the great American West, after her small hometown in Nevada is rocked by an economic crisis. Throughout her exploration, she encounters fellow nomads, who become her lifeline in this new way of modern-day van dwelling living.

Nomadland hits shelves for digital release on Tuesday, April 13th and Blu-ray on Tuesday, April 27th. In a bonus features clip exclusively shared with HelloGiggles, director Zhao opens up about the production behind Nomadland and how everyday people were the film's guide.

"The way I can make it authentic is that you let these characters guide your casting choices and your location choices. You let their authentic human experience and them as individuals to guide it," she explained in the clip.

Since its release, Nomadland has become a wild tornado of success, especially throughout award season.

The film took home the 2021 Golden Globe award for Best Motion Picture Drama and Zhao picked up an award of her own for Best Director. Nomadland also won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival this past September and the People's Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival. This is the first time a film has ever won the highest awards at both festivals. Zhao also made history on Saturday, April 10th, as the first woman of color to win the top film award at the Directors Guild of America Awards. She is only the second woman to be awarded this honor.

Nomadland also won Critics' Choice Awards for the following categories: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Cinematography. Not to mention, McDormand was nominated for a SAG award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role.

The Oscars are next, where Nomadland will be competing for Actress in a Leading Role, Cinematography, Directing, Film Editing, Adapted Screenplay, and the crown jewel of Best Motion Picture. The 2021 Oscars will be airing on Sunday, April 25th.