TIFF 2020 People's Choice Award

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.

While nothing in this world is a sure thing, it’s looking more and more likely that Chloe Zhao’s fantastic Nomadland is going to be an awards season contender. The movie already took home the Venice Film Festival Golden Lion Award, and now it’s scored the Toronto International Film Festival People’s Choice Award. While it’s important to never underestimate the foolishness of the Academy when it comes to nominations, the overwhelmingly positive reactions to the film coupled with these festival wins makes for a strong indication that Nomadland will be a major presence this awards season.

For example, in recent years, People’s Choice Award winners include The King’s SpeechSlumdog Millionaire12 Years a SlaveSilver Linings PlaybookThree Billboards Outside Ebbing, MissouriLa La LandGreen Book, and Jojo Rabbit, all of which either won, or were nominated for, Best Picture at the Academy Awards.

People’s Choice Award runners-up this year: Regina King’s One Night in Miami and Tracey Deer’s Beans. The TIFF 2020 People’s Choice Documentary Award winner was Inconvenient Indian directed by Michelle Latimer, and the TIFF 2020 People’s Choice Midnight Madness Award winner was Shadow in the Cloud directed by Roseanne Liang.

In Nomadland, “Following the economic collapse of a company town in rural Nevada, Fern (Frances McDormand) packs her van and sets off on the road exploring a life outside of conventional society as a modern-day nomad. The third feature film from director Chloé Zhao, Nomadland features real nomads Linda May, Swankie, and Bob Wells as Fern’s mentors and comrades in her exploration through the vast landscape of the American West.” In my 10 out of 10 /Film review, I wrote:

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.

Nomadland is expected to open on December 4.

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