Nomadland, the best movie I saw at the online version of the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival and one of the best films of the year, is on its way to awards season consideration. The film won big at TIFF, taking home the TIFF People’s Choice Award – usually a strong indicator of future Oscar attention. The introspective drama from director Chloe Zhao follows a homeless woman, played by Frances McDormand, as she travels the country while living out of her van.
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“I’m not homeless. I’m houseless.” So says Fern (Frances McDormand), the nomad at the center of Chloé Zhao‘s achingly beautiful Nomadland. Fern lives in her van now, but once, she was a resident of Empire, Nevada – a town that simply ceased to exist when its main economical source, a gypsum plant, shuttered. Now Fern drifts about, doing seasonal work for Amazon and seemingly always on the move. Always searching. For what? Home? Not exactly. Really, she’s in search of America.
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Less than four years after the breakout success of The Rider, Chloé Zhao is already one of the biggest names in Hollywood. The Beijing-born director is working on Marvel Studios’ highly anticipated blockbuster Eternals, but before that, she has another indie arthouse film set to sweep the film festival circuit this year. Nomadland, starring Frances McDormand, is Zhao’s anticipated follow-up to The Rider, another melancholic Western that stars the Oscar winner as a wandering nomad in the contemporary American West. Watch the Nomadland trailer below.
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Posted on Wednesday, September 2nd, 2020 by Ben Pearson
Director Chloe Zhao got Marvel’s attention with her 2017 indie film The Rider, and scored the job as director of the epoch-spanning Eternals because of her “fascinating” pitch that won over Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige. In a new interview, Zhao talks a little about her vision for Eternals, including her approach to casting, her shooting style, and the manga influence she infused into the upcoming movie. Read her quotes below. Read More »
The 2020 Toronto International Film Festival is still happening this fall, albeit with a lot of changes as the world is still dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. Though there will still be some physical screenings in movie theaters happening up in Canada, this year’s line-up features a smaller selection of films, the addition of plenty of digital screenings, and some collaboration with the Venice Film Festival and New York Film Festival. And now we known which movies will be playing
The full TIFF 2020 line-up has been announced, and it includes a total of 50 films spread out over 10 days, including new movies directed by Regina King, Viggo Mortensen, Halle Berry, Werner Herzog, Chloé Zhao, Mira Nair, and many more. Get the full list of TIFF 2020 films below. Read More »
Although Marvel Studios has kept its mouth shut about what movies would follow their “Phase Three” and the release of Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: Far From Home, Hollywood can’t keep every secret. We knew that The Eternals was coming and that The Rider director Chloe Zhao was behind the camera. We also knew a few of the key cast members.
So while it wasn’t surprising to see the film made official at Marvel Studios’ 2019 Comic-Con panel, it’s still exciting to see such a strange superhero team make its way to the big screen. Will this cosmic group of oddballs be the next Guardians of the Galaxy? Here’s what we learned at the panel.
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You can count on one hand the number of female directors who have been nominated for a Best Director Oscar in the award’s 90-year history. You can count on one finger the number of female directors who have won the Best Director prize. But despite their meager showing at awards ceremonies, female directors are thriving in the independent and film festival circuit, with films like Lynne Ramsay‘s lean thriller You Were Never Really Here winning the Cannes screenplay prize or Debra Granik‘s quietly devastating survival drama Leave No Trace earning raves at Sundance. Marielle Heller helmed the Telluride Film Festival darling Can You Ever Forgive Me, which earned a whopping three Oscar nominations for acting and screenplay.
But despite the inroads female filmmakers have made, the Best Director category found itself reverting back to the all-male status quo once again.
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At the beginning of 2018, Lady Bird director Greta Gerwig became only the fifth woman in history to be nominated for a Best Director award at the Oscars. “That’s one hand!” she enumerated to USA Today following her indoctrination into the sadly small mile-high club. It’s a club that unfortunately looks to remain small as most female directors remain out of the awards conversation and new reports emerge that female filmmakers saw their numbers shrink in 2018.
But before you write off 2018 as a bad year for women — or at least a step backwards after 2017’s industry-shattering breakthrough success with Gerwig, Patty Jenkins, and more — I implore you to take a closer look. Last year saw Anna Boden, along with Ryan Fleck, taking the helm for Marvel’s upcoming Captain Marvel, and the announcement of Cathy Yan directing Birds of Prey for DC and Warner Bros. And the slate of Sundance darlings were overwhelmingly female-fronted — from Sarah Colangelo‘s unnerving The Kindergarten Teacher, to Desiree Akhavan‘s ebullient The Miseducation of Cameron Post, to Jennifer Fox‘s harrowing abuse drama The Tale. Lynne Ramsay, Josephine Drecker, and Chloe Zhao achieved some of the highest critical acclaim of the year for their films You Were Never Really Here, Madeline’s Madeline, and The Rider, respectively. Hell, there were two movies about Ruth Bader Ginsburg directed by women in 2018.
The numbers may not be speaking, but the quality remains unquestionable. Female directors are slowly making inroads in Hollywood, and while they may not be breaking the Top 100 — or may get unjustly snubbed by the Oscars yet again — don’t believe anyone when they say there are no female directors. Here 18 movies directed by women in 2018 that you should watch.
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When Marvel was eyeing Chloé Zhao to direct Black Widow back in April (among others like Amma Asante and Deniz Gamze Ergüven; the job eventually went to Cate Shortland), the pairing seemed like a long-shot. A unique voice like Zhao’s doesn’t immediately seem like it would gel with the Hollywood studio system. We’ve seen Edgar Wrights and Lord & Millers a-plenty — Ant-Man and Solo would go on to be directed by Peyton Reed and Ron Howard respectively — but on the other hand, Disney’s own recent efforts like Black Panther (Ryan Coogler) and Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Rian Johnson), which both fit the mold of blockbuster filmmaking while allowing their creators a personal stamp, make speculating from this side of the studio gates a fool’s errand.
When it was announced on Friday that Zhao would not only be tasked with a Marvel movie, but with cosmic opera The Eternals of all things, reactions were understandably mixed. Some were enthusiastic, while others lamented a distinct eye being lost to the Marvel machine (this writer is optimistic, albeit cautiously) because alas, speculation is all we have in this 24×7 Disney-dominated news cycle. One can hardly begrudge anyone their extreme responses — for every Patty Jenkins leaving Thor: The Dark World due to creative differences, there’s Patty Jenkins knocking Wonder Woman out of the park and negotiation a seven-figure salary on the sequel — so the best we can do is look at the what’s what and the who’s who and hope for the best behind-the-scenes. Every creative partnership is different, after all. Read More »
Chloe Zhao has been tapped to direct Marvel’s The Eternals.
Zhao, the director of the acclaimed indie Western film The Rider, was initially on the short list to direct Marvel’s Black Widow movie, which ultimately went to Cate Shortland. Now as The Eternals director, Zhao will be helming Marvel’s next potential franchise that could help shepherd the Marvel Cinematic Universe into the cosmic realm.
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