Searchlight Pictures has announced the multi-platform rollout for Chloé Zhao’s acclaimed and award-winning road odyssey starring Frances McDormand, “Nomadland.” Due to ongoing global closures and restrictions, a Searchlight statement said the release dates are subject to change, but the release will begin in select domestic IMAX venues starting January 29, 2021, providing an exclusive theatrical window for exhibitors. The film will then hit select domestic theaters and drive-in venues on February 19, and will become available to stream on Hulu that same day. Both Searchlight Pictures and Hulu are owned by Disney.
The February 19 day and date release in theaters and on VOD is just over a week before the Academy Awards 2021 eligibility cutoff, which is February 28.
The film is in the running for major Academy Awards, include the Best Picture, Actress, and Director categories. The film, which won the Golden Lion for Best Film at this year’s Venice International Film Festival and the People’s Choice Audience Award at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, completed a one-week virtual run through Lincoln Center, rendering the film eligible for year-end critic’s groups’ awards and top 10 lists. The film won the top prize earlier this week at the 2021 Gotham Awards, and collected many accolades throughout December, including Best Director from the New York Film Critics Circle and the Los Angeles Film Critics Circle, as well as the 2020 Critics Poll at IndieWire.
IndieWire’s Eric Kohn recently touched on how the film captured the zeitgeist of 2020 in a year-end essay. He wrote:
As the pandemic took hold, the very notion of the American dream was sidelined by overnight fears about the collapse of even the slightest of society’s conveniences. In that regard, Fern’s [McDormand] instincts sync with the moment: When amenities are in short supply, the quest for happiness becomes an internal one. In one of the movie’s most powerful moments, “Nomadland” showcases a monologue by real-life nomad Swankie, a woman dying of cancer who explains why her life was fulfilled simply because of the poignant memories of the natural world she’s witnessed from her kayak: Pelicans soaring overhead in Colorado, a moose family gathered near an Idaho river, a small army of swallows swarming around her and reflecting in the waves. Zhao trusts the authenticity of these memories so well that the camera simply sits with Swankie’s face, as “Nomadland” becomes one with her journey through life.