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Director Chloe Zhao said as she accepted the award, “Thank you to my fellow nominees for your beautiful, beautiful movies.” Zhao also became the second woman to win best director at the Golden Globes earlier in the evening. Meanwhile, she was nominated in the screenplay category.
The film follows a woman (Frances McDormand) who embarks on a journey through the American West, living as a modern-day nomad. Nomadland is the first film directed by a woman to win best picture, drama, while Zhao is the first Asian woman producer to win in the category.
Zhao went on to thank author Jessica Bruder, who wrote the novel, along with the film’s star, the “incredible” McDormand (who was nominated for her performance). “Fran really lives her art,” said Zhao in the press room. “She’s probably somewhere in the desert right now. We don’t know where she is, I think. She just has so much curiosity and vigor to life live and the people around her. It’s been a privilege to see the world through her eyes and be able to craft this character through her.”
Describing the film and what it means to her, Zhao said in her acceptance speech, “Nomadland, at its core, for me, is a pilgrimage through grief and healing. So to everyone who has gone through a beautiful journey, this is for you,” said Zhao.
Backstage, she gave a reaction to how the film made history. “Sometimes a first feels like a long time coming. You feel like it’s about time. I’m sure there’s many others before me that deserve the same recognition. I just love what I do. If this means more people like me get to live their dream and get to do what I do, I’m happy.”
On the rise of violence toward Asians and Asian Americans, Zhao said, “I think a lot of great people have been doing incredible work in the community to raise awareness. Again, the word compassion. When we look in each others’ eyes, you can’t deny them as a human being. Maybe we need to be more compassionate toward ourselves.”
The Searchlight film was given a hybrid release in the U.S., entering theaters and appearing on sister streamer Hulu, due to the widespread theater closures amid the pandemic.
Overall during the evening, David Fincher’s biographical drama film Mank, which tells the story of how screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz developed the screenplay for Citizen Kane, led the film nominees with six nods in total.
The Golden Globe Awards were hosted for the fourth time by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, who appeared separately from New York’s Rainbow Room and the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles, respectively.
Winners across 25 categories, spanning film and television, appeared from locations around the world. Presenters included Awkwafina, Margot Robbie, Joaquin Phoenix, Kristin Wiig, Ava DuVernay, Ben Stiller, Sarah Paulson and Sterling K. Brown.
The show was broadcast live coast-to-coast on NBC at 5 p.m. PT, with the ceremony produced by Dick Clark Productions, a division of MRC, which is a co-owner of The Hollywood Reporter through a joint venture with Penske Media titled P-MRC.
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