It was Zoom chaos at the 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards. Yes, while we tried to get excited by the waist-up glimpses of gowns in celebrity hotel rooms, the half-virtual ceremony was rather underwhelming to watch. It was also marred by scrutiny as a recent report revealed none of the 87 Hollywood Foreign Press Association members – the body responsible for choosing nominations and winners – are Black.
But come time to announce Best Director and Best Motion Picture and few could argue that director Cholé Zhao and her intimate film Nomadland were each every part deserving. The film follows Fern (played ever so powerfully by Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’s Frances McDormand), a 50 or 60-something-year-old woman who has lost her husband and has joined other elder Americans for a life travelling about inside a mobile home.
Most of the characters Fern comes across never imagined their lives would be so displaced – one woman tells Fern she retired with $550 in her social security account, while another was a Vietnam Vet who couldn’t handle the loud noises and the big crowds of the every day. And thus these people turn to living in their vans and working shift work where they can to pay for food and petrol. The expansive portrait of these groups of nomads and their quality of life on the road is incredibly moving and eye-opening. Ultimately at the heart of it, it’s a story about compassion for other people, something we could all do with an extra dose.
“Nomadland at its core for me is a pilgrimage through grief and healing,” said Zhao, accepting the awards from her living room with a WiFi connection that was very much stable. “So for everyone who has gone through this difficult journey at some point in their lives, this is for you.”
We don’t say goodbye, we say, ‘See you down the road.’”
Zhao is the first woman of Asian descent and second woman ever to win the best director award in the Golden Globes’ 78-year history. Zhao and Nomadland are now favourites to win the Oscar in April.
Congratulations to Zhao and the cast and crew of Nomadland.
Nomadland is in cinemas now.