And the Best Picture Oscar goes to ... Nomadland! If you want to watch Nomadland on Hulu to see Best Actress winner Frances McDormand do what she does best — wow us all with an incredible performance.
Nomadland was the biggest of the Oscar winners in 2021, taking home Best Picture, Best Actress and Best Director for Chloe Zhao (who became only the second woman and first woman of color to get that prize).
The film is perfect — in all the right and wrong ways — for the time, placing McDormand in the role of Fern, a former substitute teacher who left the town of Empire, Nevada once its economy crashed after a mine closed. Now she's living out of an RV, and working a series of seasonal gigs such as Amazon fulfillment center during the holiday season.
While the film seems to have all the heart-breaking emotions we've come to expect from McDormand's strongest roles, it also looks gorgeous. Zhao has made a reputation for showing the stories of the people of the harsher parts of the beautiful west states of the country, and this is an excellent continuation of form.
McDormand's co-stars include actual nomads and the always reliable David Strathairn. Here's the Nomadland trailer if you want to get a preview before watching it.
How to watch Nomadland on Hulu
Nomadland is streaming now on Hulu (opens in new tab) after dropping on the service Feb. 19, 2021.
Hulu is only available in the U.S.
Hulu (opens in new tab) offers a huge library of classic and current TV shows and movies, as well as acclaimed originals like The Handmaid's Tale, Palm Springs and The Great. And it's got the entire FX catalog, including Atlanta, Justified, What We Do in the Shadows, Archer and Mrs. America. You can try out the service with a free one-month trial (opens in new tab), after which a subscription costs just $5.99.
The rave reviews for Nomadland show why the film got so much awards buzz:
At the Washington Post (opens in new tab), Ann Hornaday writes "McDormand holds the camera with an utterly disarming combination of self-effacement and command — the same charismatic naturalism that made her appearances on the awards circuit a few years ago for “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” such an exhilarating departure from the usual empty glitz."
For the Chicago Sun Times (opens in new tab), Richard Roeper calls the film an "instant American masterpiece that feels like something John Steinbeck might have written had he worked in the early 21st century." He also uses his 4-star review to remind us that Frances McDormand belongs on a hypothetical "a Mount Rushmore of actresses who have created many of the most memorable and formidable characters in film history." He also notes that "David Strathairn deserves best supporting actor consideration for his beautifully understated performance."
At Vulture (opens in new tab), Alison Willmore writes that "Nomadland is a devastating film about the delicacies of that distinction, and it could very well be the feature of the year, as uncertain a prize as that is in 2020." She also commends the director, saying that "the Beijing-born Zhao has proven herself to be the best big-screen chronicler of the region, both as an actual place as rugged territory and stunning landscapes."
The Atlantic's (opens in new tab) David Sims ranked Nomadland as one of the best films of 2020, and notes that the film is "anchored by a dynamic, prickly, deeply compelling lead performance from Frances McDormand. He also highlights the film's wowing juxtaposition, writing "Zhao places the failed promises of the American dream alongside some of its most beautiful, breathtaking vistas, as Fern pursues a life that isn’t driven by a search for success and wealth."
Over at Rolling Stone (opens in new tab), K. Austin Collins' review highlights how "For all the majesty and naturalistic realism of its imagery, Nomadland is nevertheless full of sublime, uncanny details that lift it somewhat above the fray. ... These aren’t elevating, ironic details; they don’t (or shouldn’t) make us feel “better” about Fern’s situation by reminding us that, to invoke a memorable misfire on this subject, life is beautiful."
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