'Nomadland' Oscar Nominations Could Be A First In Academy Award History

Believe it or not, a woman has never been nominated for Best Actress and Best Picture (via being a producer) in the same exact year. That very well might be about to change, though – with Nomadland. Star Frances McDormand is also a producer on the Chloé Zhao-directed flick, and almost everyone who tracks the Oscars seems to think she's a shoo-in for Best Actress and that the film will surely get a Best Picture nod.

Nomadland is one of the year's best movies. And Frances McDormand is there in every scene, anchoring everything. It's yet another stellar performance from the acclaimed actress, who year after year reminds us she's one of the best in the biz. In Nomadland, McDormand is Fern, a homeless woman who travels through America in her van. As I wrote in my review:

Simultaneously gritty and gorgeous, Nomadland gives McDormand yet another opportunity to show us just how unparalleled a performer she is. McDormand occupies nearly every single frame of the film, and her work here – subtle, quiet, heartbreaking – is a masterclass. Fern is often quiet, but always listening. And McDormand knows exactly how to convey that – the act of listening; the act of empathy. She's in conflict with no one. She merely wants to exist... McDormand carries the weight of hundreds of thousands of miles on her face as she looks out towards whatever landscape she's pointed in. There will be hard times ahead. But there will be moments like those swallows by the river, too. It's a mean, cruel country – but there's beauty lurking somewhere out there, waiting to be found.

While we still have a little while to go before the Oscar nominations are announced, there's a very good chance that McDormand is going to score another Best Actress nomination and that Nomadland will be nominated for Best Picture. And as Variety points out, that would make history. Because McDormand is also one of Nomadland's producers – which would make Nomadland the first film to have a Best Actress and Best Picture award potentially going to the same person.

It's happened for male performers several times – Warren Beatty with Bonnie and Clyde, Heaven Can Wait, Reds, and Bugsy; Clint Eastwood with Unforgiven and Million Dollar Baby; and Bradley Cooper with American Sniper and A Star is Born – but never with a female performer/producer. However, Variety does that "two female acting nominees have been nominated as producers in the best picture category in the 92 years of the Academy, though for different films than their acting nods" – that would be Oprah Winfrey, nominated for The Color Purple as supporting actress and Selma as a producer, and Barbra Streisand, who won Best Actress for Funny Girl and was nominated for Best Picture with The Prince of Tides.

The Oscar nominations will be announced on March 15, 2021.