‘Nomadland’ Producers On Releasing Oscar Contending Pic During Pandemic – Backstage

No thanks to the pandemic, it was a longer Oscar season than originally planned. Even though the Oscar ceremony was late this year, Searchlight fired off its campaign for Nomadland at the traditional starting gun point of early September with the multi-festival debut of Nomadland at Venice, TIFF and Telluride-sponsored drive-in at the Pasadena Rose Bowl.

Speaking at the virtual backstage for tonight’s show, Nomadland producer Peter Spears spoke about the feat of releasing this ultimate Best Picture winner during Covid.

“I view the ability to finish this movie in the midst of a pandemic and release it was a Herculean effort,” said the producer, “the timing was right and the story resonated for people about a community and our shared humanity. It would have had a deeper sort of meaning if it came out prior to that (the pandemic).”

Asked about how the movie changed her, tonight’s Oscar winning director Chloe Zhao, who is the first woman of color to be lauded in the category, spoke about living four months in an RV while shooting the film.

“I think I need less stuff to live. I can have fewer things,” Zhao said.

During a regular awards season, those on the same film team are continually together at various kudo ceremonies. However, tonight repped the first time that the Nomadland team got together since finishing the feature.

As we already mentioned, Nomadland is the lowest-grossing Oscar Best Picture winner at the box office with just over $2.5M, besting 2009 Best Picture winner The Hurt Locker which grossed $17M stateside. Searchlight plans a wide break again for the film north of 1,000 theaters even though the pic is available on Hulu as well.

Nomadland Best Actress winner Frances McDormand made a plea for movie theaters in her acceptance speech tonight:

“Please watch our movie on the largest screen possible and one day very, very soon, take everyone you know, into that theater, shoulder to shoulder, in that dark space and watch every film that is represented here tonight.”

Spears and Zhao appeared in Oscars virtual press room with fellow winning producers Mollye Asher and Dan Janvey.

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