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‘Nomadland’ wins Golden Lion at Venice Film Festival: fifth female director since 1949 in prizes

Nomadland was awarded the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. That is the prize for the best film. Nomadland is an American film by director Chloë Zhao. Due to the corona crisis, the oldest film festival in the world looked different from the previous years. A lot less films were shown and there were fewer visitors and fewer Hollywood stars. The film festival did take place physically unlike some other festivals.

Nomadland set during the 2008 financial crisis. McDormand took on the role of Fern, a woman who loses her job and all her worldly possessions. She then decides to travel through the United States with a camper. She travels through seven American states and the film shows a piece of a forgotten America and an accompanying forgotten lifestyle, a forgotten American dream. Like the pioneers of the 19th century who traveled to the Wild West to find their happiness, the characters in the film also lead a nomadic life for economic, but also personal reasons.

(The Oscars: Who Actually Decides on Nominations and Academy Awards?)

Fifth woman since 1949

Due to the corona crisis, director Chloé Zao and lead actor Frances McDormand received the award digitally from the United States. This is only Zhao’s second film. Her first movie, The Rider, was still produced by the Belgian production house Caviar. Nomadland on the other hand, it was produced by the prestigious Searchlight house, which has been part of Disney since the Fox acquisition. By the way, it was the director of Disney Italy who physically picked up the prize on stage.

Zhao is only the fifth woman since 1949 to win a Golden Lion. Her predecessors are Margaretha von Trotta, Agnès Varda, Mira Nair and Sofia Coppola. Last year, only two female directors were nominated in the competition. This year there were eight, out of a total of eighteen nominees for directors.

(Oscar for “best film” from 2024 only for production with enough diversity.)

Jury prize

The film Wife of a Spy from Japanese director Kiyoshi Kurosawa took home the Silver Lion, the grand jury prize for “best film”. Italian actor Pierfrancesco Favino took home the award for “Best Actor” for his role in Padrenostro. British Vanessa Kirby won the “Best Actress” award for her performance as Martha in Pieces of a Woman.


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