Chinese-born director Chloe Zhao wins big at U.S. NSFC Awards

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) — Chinese-born director Chloe Zhao’s feature film “Nomadland” became a big winner on Saturday with four trophies at the annual National Society of Film Critics (NSFC) Awards, and is continuing to sweep the awards circuit in the United States.

“Nomadland,” an American contemporary Western drama distributed by Searchlight Pictures, was named best film of 2020 at the virtual NSFC’s 55th awards voting meeting, and is Zhao’s second film after the cowboy drama “The Rider” two years ago.

Zhao also nabbed the best director award. Best actress went to Frances McDormand for her performance, and Joshua James Richards walked away with the best cinematography award.

It was at least the fifth top prize in film directing this week for Zhao from the country’s critics’ groups, with the others from the Columbus Film Critics Association, the Oklahoma Film Critics Circle, the Alliance Of Women Film Journalists, and the North Carolina Film Critics Association.

An adaptation from a 2017 non-fiction book, the film stars McDormand, a two-time Oscar winner, as an out-of-work woman who packs her van and sets off from her small town across the vast landscape of the American West, exploring a life outside of conventional society as a modern-day nomad.

Earlier, “Nomadland” had won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival, making history as the first to win both honors. Awards have piled up from coast to coast in the United States in recent weeks, putting it on the fast track for Oscar contention.

Voting of the NSFC, consisting of 60 prominent movie critics from major papers and outlets across the United States, is conducted via a weighted ballot system this year. Delroy Lindo nabbed best actor for his role in Netflix’s war drama “Da 5 Bloods.” Eliza Hittman in “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” was awarded best screenplay, and the Romanian film “Collective” won the best foreign language film award.

The South Korean film “Parasite” was the best film at the NSFC Awards last year. It went on to make history at the 92nd Academy Awards, winning four top prizes, including the one for best picture.

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