Two years after dominating critics awards with “The Rider,” writer/director Chloe Zhao returns with “Nomadland.” Searchlight Pictures has confirmed that this red-hot 2021 Oscars contender has a release date of December 4. The film, which serves as a showcase for two-time Best Actress winner Frances McDormand, will have its world premiere at the Venice film festival in early September, followed by screenings at both the Toronto and New York filmfests.
Zhao adapted Jessica Binder‘s nonfiction bestseller “Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century.” As per the studio’s press release: “Following the economic collapse of a company town in rural Nevada, Fern (Frances McDormand) packs her van and sets off on the road exploring a life outside of conventional society as a modern-day nomad. The third feature film from director Chloé Zhao, “Nomadland” features real nomads Linda May, Swankie and Bob Wells as Fern’s mentors and comrades in her exploration through the vast landscape of the American West.”
Zhao was last on the awards circuit with her contemporary western “The Rider,” which won Best Feature at the 2019 Gotham Awards over three high-profile contenders: “The Favourite,” “If Beale Street Could Talk” and “First Reformed.” The National Society of Film Critics also named “The Rider” as the best picture of 2018. The NSFC is that rarity among critics groups in that it discloses the results of voting. So we know that “The Rider” barely edged out “Roma,” which had to settle for two wins for Alfonso Cuaron — who handily prevailed for his direction and cinematography — and a third as Best Foreign Language Film.