Chloé Zhao's 'Nomadland' To Be Released On Hulu And In IMAX Theaters

Nomadland is one of the best movies of 2020 that barely anyone has seen. But that will soon change, as distributor Searchlight Pictures has set a Nomadland release in both theaters and streaming next month, just ahead of the Oscars.

Searchlight Pictures may have waited too long to release Nomadland to theaters, but at least they're rolling out the red carpet for Chloé Zhao's acclaimed road drama. Variety reports that Nomadland is set to debut in select IMAX theaters on January 29, 2021, before opening in traditional theaters and drive-ins on February 19, 2021. And on the same day of its theatrical wide release in February, Nomadland will premiere on Hulu.

IMAX seems a strange choice for an intimate character drama such as Nomadland, as the format is usually reserved for big blockbusters. But the film's sweeping shots of the American countryside, in all its raw, untouched glory, certainly deserves to be seen on the biggest screen possible.

The road to the big screen has been marked by delays for Nomadland, which took the film festival circuit by storm, winning the top prizes at the Venice Film Festival and Toronto Film Festival, with Searchlight initially planning a theatrical release in December 2020. It got an exclusive one-week virtual screening at New York's Lincoln Center that month, but has been withheld from the public otherwise — even as it landed on many critics' best of year lists, including /Film's and that of yours truly.

Based on the 2017 non-fiction book Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century by Jessica Bruder, the film stars Frances McDormand as Fern, a woman who packs up her life after the great recession causes the economic collapse of her company town in rural Nevada, and hits the road, joining a community of nomads that wander the country. David Strathairn co-stars in Nomadland along with real-life nomads Linda May, Charlene Swankie and Bob Wells. Zhao's tremendous film, which follows up her last critical darling The Rider from 2017, is a shoo-in in this year's Oscar race — which makes its late-stage release a little curious (although the pandemic has messed up any sense of timing or timelines). But perhaps like last year's 1917 it will become a late-entry dark horse that ends up becoming the unlikely frontrunner for Best Picture. I hope so, because this achingly beautiful, tender film deserves to be hailed as the best of the year.

In addition to the Stateside release in February, Searchlight is also planning to premiere Nomadland internationally throughout the spring, starting on March 4, 2021 (pandemic permitting).